People and ProjectsMarch 8

Calvin University teamed with two local companies to renovate a portion of the Spoelhof University Center into a state-of-the-art Design Hub. GMB Architecture + Engineering and EV Construction collaborated with the University on the 6,000-SF renovation project that began last May.

The completed space anchors Calvin’s recently revised graphic design program. Grounded in a responsive fine arts department within a rigorous liberal arts university, the program equips students to solve foundational design problems—whatever the medium—as embedded in a way of thinking. With an emphasis on collaboration, creativity and professionalism, the Design Hub includes an open classroom for graphic design, studios for Bachelor of Fine Arts students, breakout rooms for business student groups and social spaces for students interested in working creatively—from theatrical performances to robotic competitions. As the last year of living through a pandemic has made abundantly clear: the future demands flexibility, and that was a central design principle for Calvin University from the beginning.

The idea for this project ignited in the fall of 2015 when a group of arts faculty and staff began to consider how the physical campus could support the arts by encouraging collaboration among the various arts on campus and between the arts and other programs, like business and engineering. The vision of this group came to life through the 5 Smooth Stones campaign, specifically the second stone, “A Classroom with a Future.” The capital campaign officially kicked off in 2016, design and planning took 18 months, followed by, construction.

Design students now make up over half of the University’s art majors. The space underscores Calvin’s commitment to the design program and the visual arts broadly and will serve as a home to the Artist Collaborative Program, which brings students together from a wide array of majors. The space will resonate with students across campus from engineering to marketing. With updated technology and AV components, and additional working and social spaces, the Hub aligns with the University’s commitments to students’ experience and high-impact education.

EV Construction, an award-winning firm based in Holland, Mich. provided construction management services for the renovation. During the course of the project, over 21 building trades companies and 55 individual tradespeople were involved in completing the renovation of the Spoelhof Center.