GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Frederik Meijer Gardens revealed its major expansion plans which includes a new welcome and learning center and expanded amphitheater.
The $115 million project titled, Welcoming the World: Honoring a Legacy of Love, was announced on Thursday.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park said the project will allow them to expand its annual horticulture exhibitions, provide more galleries for sculpture exhibitions, add more room for guests to move about, host more events and improve parking among other things.
“For last two years 750,000 people each year have come out to visit Meijer Gardens. When the current entryway was built, we were getting 200,000 people coming in, so we need to grow,” said President and CEO David Hooker.
The project includes the following:
- Expanded and upgraded amphitheater
- New 60,000 square foot, LEED certified welcome center
- New 20,000 square foot, LEED certified Covenant Learning Center
- New Peter C. and Emajean Cook Transportation Center
- New sculpture garden entry plaza
- Expanded BISSELL, Inc. scenic corridor
- New outdoor picnic pavilion
- New Padnos families rooftop sculpture garden
- Expanded and accessible parking and urban gardens
Construction is scheduled to begin in fall 2017 and take about four years.
The new Covenant Learning Center will allow the staff to offer more interactive educational opportunities for the community.
“Right now we have two classrooms [but] when the Covenant Learning Center is complete we’ll have six classrooms, plus we’ll have an interactive education area,” Hooker told 24 Hour News 8.
So far, Frederik Meijer Gardens said it has raised nearly $102 million for the capital campaign, Welcoming the World: Honoring a Legacy of Love.
“The name of our capital campaign reflects the love that Fred and Lena had for each other, for this community, and for sculpture and gardens. We strongly believe the growth of Meijer Gardens will continue and that the organization will thrive for generations to come,” said Hooker in a release.
The last major expansion project at Frederik Meijer Gardens was the Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden, which opened to the public on June 13, 2015. The $22 million garden took years to build, integrating contemporary sculptures with trees and plants.
The eight-acre garden helped propel Frederik Meijer Gardens to record-breaking attendance, with more than 80,000 people visiting just that month. That year, more than 775,000 guests visited Frederik Meijer Gardens – the most in its history.
A 2016 economic study by Grand Valley State University estimated that Frederik Meijer Gardens supports or contributes more than $75 million to the Kent County economy every year.