Hope College begins construction on athletic center

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The Jim Heeringa Athletic Center will be located near the north end zone of Ray and Sue Smith Stadium. Courtesy Hope College

The groundbreaking for a new $3.3 million locker room facility on Hope College’s athletic complex took place earlier this week.

The Jim Heeringa Athletic Center will be located near the north end zone of Ray and Sue Smith Stadium. It will serve the college’s 95-member football team each fall and its baseball and softball teams in the spring.

“We are extremely excited to see construction begin on this project and so are our student-athletes, coaches, alumni and others in the Hope community,” said Tim Schoonveld, director of athletics at Hope. “We are confident the Heeringa Athletic Center will be another great tool that will allow us to compete with excellence and provide transformational experiences for our student-athletes. We look forward to watching its construction unfold in the months ahead.”

The 10,000-square-foot facility will have three team locker rooms with 125 lockers for football, baseball and softball; an athletic training and rehabilitation room; position player meeting rooms for teaching and film review with new technology; laundry and equipment rooms and storage; refueling stations; and in the main hallway, pictorial timelines featuring historical moments and notable performances for the football, baseball and softball programs.

The athletic center is named after the late Jim Heeringa, a longtime resident and the lead donor to the facility. He and his partner Eileen Kilmer donated $5 million to Hope College last fall. The Jim Heeringa Athletic Center will replace Lugers Fieldhouse.

Approximately half of the gift will go toward the locker room building and the other half to the college’s Department of Dance, which will have its facilities improved in the college’s DeWitt Center and Dow Center.

“This new facility will be an awesome place for our student-athletes to build on Hope’s tradition of excellence,” said Peter Stuursma, head football coach. “When Lugers opened, it was a great space closer to our playing fields that brought our team together. When our football, baseball and softball teams walk into the new Heeringa Athletic Center soon, I know they too will experience similar camaraderie and appreciation. We all are grateful to Jim and Eileen for making this dream a reality.”

The architectural design for the Jim Heeringa Athletic Center will be done by AMDG Architects Inc., and Midwest Construction is the building contractor. The project is set to be completed by August.

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