Schools Put New Athletic Facilities Into Play


    Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Grand Rapids West Catholic and Grand Rapids Christian high schools unveiled new gymnasiums and athletic facilities over the last few months.

    Rockford Construction Co. recently completed work on Christian High School’s Quest Center. The 48,000-square-foot, multi-purpose facility is the final component and the second centerpiece of the Get Healthy funding initiative school officials began in 2006. The Eagles Football Stadium, which opened last year, was the initiative’s other showpiece.

    “Our work on the new Eagles Stadium, along with the completion of the Quest Center, are crowning achievements for us,” said Michael VanGessel, president & CEO of Rockford Construction.

    The Quest Center offers space for basketball, volleyball, indoor track and other sports along with seating for 1,800. It also has a training room, locker rooms for physical education classes and the sports teams, concession areas, a café in the lobby and storage space.

    The idea behind the Get Healthy campaign was to give students opportunities for better health and wellness and also upgrade the school’s sporting facilities.

    “We deeply appreciate all of the efforts of the cabinet co-chairs, donors, families, students and friends of Grand Rapids Christian Schools who invested significant time and resources to increase our endowment, strengthen our financial position, and raise our fitness, athletic and nutritional standards for years to come,” said Tom DeJonge, superintendent of GR Christian Schools.

    AMDG Architects designed the Quest Center. More than 200 subcontractors worked on the building and the football stadium.

    Grand Rapids Catholic Secondary Schools recently held a dedication ceremony for the new West Catholic gymnasium, a project that Rockford also managed. The 35,000-square-foot gym features a basketball court, a weight room, a multipurpose athletic room and locker rooms. The $4.5 million gym was built next door to the school’s original facility, which is more than 40 years old and now serves as a practice gym. A lobby connects the new with the old.

    But what is really special about the West Catholic gym is its use of sustainable materials and its installation of more than $60,000 worth of electrical photovoltaic lenses on the roof to collect and convert the sun’s rays into electricity.

    “That is pretty unusual, particularly in Michigan, to see that. But it is kind of a neat function,” said Tim Marcus, project manager for Rockford Construction.

    “Beyond that, (the gym also has) a lot of the typical things that we see as good green-building practices — the use of local resources, a high energy-efficiency rating to reduce energy usage, reusing materials to lower waste recycling,” he added.

    The West Catholic gym, though, isn’t the only local high school facility to be designed green. The new 36,000-square-foot field house at Catholic Central is also seeking LEED certification. The $3.5 million facility has multiple courts, a three-ring indoor track and plenty of room to store equipment.

    BETA Design Group designed both gyms. Pioneer Construction directed the work for the project at Catholic Central.

    Catholic Secondary Schools used an $8 million capital campaign to build the facilities, which are expected to use about 50 percent less energy than non-green versions. Carbon emissions are expected to be reduced by roughly 40 percent and water consumption should drop by almost a third.

    Although it cost more for the high schools to build green, school officials fully expect to recoup those costs over time through lower operating expenses in the coming years. CQ

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