Grand Action Has An Action Plan

    GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Action Committee is proposing interior renovation of DeVos Performance Hall to make the venue more complementary to and compatible with the soon-to-open DeVos Place Convention Center.

    The Grand Action Committee will present its plan to the Building Committee of the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority this week.

    If the building committee approves the plan, it will go to the Convention/Arena Authority’s board of directors for approval in August.

    “It’s a little premature to be talking about it in much detail other than to say we have been working on upgrading the interior for some number of months and we now have a plan to present,” said David Frey, co-chair of Grand Action.

    “With everything around DeVos Performance Hall virtually new, including the new lobby, it needs to be updated so it’s contemporary in its look and its feel and will be comfortable, attractive and competitive with other venues.”

    Frey said Grand Action Committee members and private donors who have a “key interest” in DeVos Performance Hall have worked to raise funds for its interior renovation, estimated at under $10 million.

    “These are all private funds, and they’re still raising funds as we speak. Some funds have been pledged and we are seeking to complete the financial package in the next few weeks.”

    Frey declined to name names of donors until a funding package is finalized.

    He said work on the facility would likely get underway in early summer of 2004 and be ready by fall for the symphony and all local performing arts groups that use it.

    The committee has had a vision for the performance hall and has been working for the past year with Progressive AE on interior redesign of the facility.

    “We have had to change some things around and, in fact, we had to downscale it somewhat because we didn’t want to ask anybody but private donors to help support it.”

    The interior would not be taken down to its skeleton, Frey noted.

    Work would focus on maintaining the hall’s current acoustics and improving aesthetics and “other aspects of the total experience,” to make it a more contemporary and enjoyable experience, he said.

    Some improvements will be made out of the facility’s normal budget for capital improvements, Frey observed, but the Grand Action Committee’s focus will be on improvements that can’t be covered by the normal budgetary process.

    “I think you’ll be excited, enthusiastic and appreciative of the efforts being made very quietly with a relatively small group of donors who want DeVos Hall to shine and be compatible with its new surroundings.”   

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