posted September 1, 1999

College Commits to Area Center

The Hope College Board of Trustees has committed the college to being a significant partner in the proposed Holland Area Center project.

     The college is pledging $1 million to the Holland Area
Center Joint Building Authority conditioned on voter approval on
November 2, according to President James E. Bultman.
     "We are an enthusiastic partner in the Area Center project
because we believe it is an appropriate collaborative effort
between private and public entities," Bultman said. "The
college's participation is in keeping with its long standing
commitment to the greater Holland community."
     Bultman said the college will be soliciting funds from
donors to meet its commitment.  Hope would pay its pledge in
equal installments over a three-year period through 2001.
     Hope officials note that the multipurpose community center
has the potential to enhance a variety of college activities,
ranging from intercollegiate sports contests; to concerts,
speakers and banquets; to special events like the college's
commencement and Parents Weekend activities.
     Hope has played its men's basketball games at the Holland
Civic Center since it opened in 1955, but has not been able to
host the NCAA playoffs in recent years because the size of the
floor does not meet regulations.  A new Area Center would give
the college and community the opportunity to host this and other
similar events.
     "The preliminary design concepts of the Area Center will
allow us to enhance the small college atmosphere that is pleasing
to our fans," said William Anderson, vice president for business
and finance.  "At the same time, we see this facility as
providing space that does not now exist anywhere in the
community.  For example,  there is presently no place where we
can hold an appropriate indoor commencement ceremony."
     "The prospect of an outdoor ice skating rink in close
proximity to the campus that would provide an additional
recreational opportunity for our students also excites us,"
Anderson added.
     Anderson also noted that the college brings thousands of
visitors to Holland every year through its summer conference
programs and that the addition of the Area Center will provide
the potential for even a greater economic impact on the
community.
     This is not the first time that Hope College has stepped
forth to support a community-based project.  In the late 1970s,
for example, the college cooperated in a tangible way to make
construction of Holland Municipal Stadium a reality.