Central to Celebrate $12 Million P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium Expansion
A $12 million expansion of Central College’s P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium will be celebrated Thursday, April 20, at 5:30 p.m.
The event is open to the public and will be staged outside of the new main entrance on the south side of the building, located at the corner of West 5th Street and Independence Street on the west end of the Central campus.
The new entrance includes a spacious atrium, expanded lobby, Hall of Honor and All-America corridor, highlighting more than 200 of the college’s most decorated student-athletes. Work on some displays is not yet completed.
Meanwhile, an addition to the west created space for a new varsity locker room for men’s and women’s squads, a new wrestling room that triples the size of the former space, and an enlarged area for a hitting cage for softball, baseball and men’s/women’s golf. Also included are major infrastructure replacements and enhancements for the 48-year-old building.
The expansion is part of the Forever Dutch initiative, an ongoing series of athletics facilities improvements and additions. Fundraising is underway for the next phase, which will include complete renovation of the Kuyper Gymnasium interior spaces.
Eric Van Kley, Central’s athletics director, is thrilled about what the expansion means for the college’s student-athletes.
“Kuyper Gym was built before the dawn of women’s athletics,” he said. “It was constructed for an all-male, eight-sport program that served 202 athletes in 1969. We now have a 19-sport program and nearly 750 student-athletes. Adding such a large new locker room really takes the pressure off in terms of making adequate space available for every team and our student-athletes are really excited about the amenities that come with it, as well. And the new entrance and lobby expansion is something we’ve needed for a long time. It will allow us to host some larger events we previously couldn’t consider.
“These new facilities are game-changers.”
Joan Kuyper Farver Recognition
The college will honor Forever Dutch donors at the celebration, with special tribute to the late M. Joan Kuyper Farver, former chair of Pella Corporation and a longtime Central trustee. Farver passed away Feb. 27 at age 97 and a memorial service for her is set for Saturday, April 22.
Farver and other descendants of Pella Corporation founder P.H. “Pete” Kuyper, along with their family foundations, teamed for a transformational $4.2-million gift for the Forever Dutch initiative, the largest gift in Central’s 164-year history. The donation included a lead gift from Farver, daughter of P.H. Kuyper.
Central president Mark Putnam announced that the new M. Joan Kuyper Farver Atrium is named in Farver’s honor, adding her name to those of other prominent family members. The A.N. Kuyper Athletics Complex is named for Farver’s grandfather, while H.S. Kuyper Fieldhouse carries the name of her brother.
Putnam noted that she and the Kuyper/Farver/Griffith family were large contributors to numerous campus capital projects and provided significant scholarship support, most notably through the Rolscreen Scholarships. Established in 1942, they remain Central’s top academic scholarships and played a fundamental role in establishing the college’s academic strength. The family’s benevolence also provided for the college’s Chapel, constructed in 1982 and representative of Central’s spiritual undergirding.
“In particular, Joan Farver felt a great responsibility in stewarding the family’s legacy in the college athletics complex which bears the family name,” Putnam said. “She was a woman of great humility. She never sought recognition, nor was comfortable receiving it. But it’s fitting that now her name has a place along with other family members in the Kuyper complex.
“I’m especially pleased that, before she passed away, we were able to inform her of our intention of naming this space for her. It was not something she expected, but it was clear that this honor meant a great deal to her. And it’s immensely gratifying to us to be able to honor her in this way.”