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GVSU dedicates expanded performing arts center

By Erin Dietzer/The Holland Sentinel • Aug 30, 2017 at 5:00 PM

ALLENDALE — Grand Valley State University students returned to the Allendale campus last week to a renovated and expanded performing arts center.

The Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for the Performing Arts added a $20 million, two-story, 47,000-square-foot addition that was dedicated Aug. 25.

The addition includes the Linn Maxwell Keller Black Box Theatre, an expanded theater costume shop, additional prop storage, new dressing rooms, two theater classrooms for costume design and fabrication, four music ensemble rooms, and additional rehearsal spaces. The Haas Center also includes a classroom for students studying music education, an enlarged study space in the main lobby and multiple faculty offices.

The original center was built in 1971 and additionally houses the Louis Armstrong Theatre and the GVSU Art Gallery. The facility is also utilized by numerous student vocal and instrumental ensembles and the 220-member Laker Marching Band.

The center is named for the current GVSU president and first lady due to their support for the school’s music, theater and dance programs, and for creating an endowment for GVSU’s performing arts.

“The arts lift us up, make us think and give us hope, and we hope others will continue to join us in being enriched by our students’ performances within these walls,” Thomas Haas said. “Our students are the best in this nation and they are being supported right here at Grand Valley.”

The expansion will be well used. The school reports GVSU’s music program has grown by 46 percent in the past three years and more than 300 students participate in theater productions annually. Approximately 10,000 people attend performing arts events at GVSU every year.

“Arts of all kinds benefit people of all ages, and Tom and I have a very deep appreciation for the arts and we recognize how our lives have been enriched by all of the arts,” Marcia Haas said. “Our Grand Valley family is so special and we are pleased to have this opportunity to give back.”

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