DeVos Center wedding construction kept under wraps

By McKenna Peariso | 1/21/19 12:50am

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GVL / McKenna Peariso

Grand Valley State University is host to many events and receptions each year,  including weddings, as its various campuses offer exclusive settings and exquisite backdrops for significant occasions. On Saturday Jan. 19, an anonymous GVSU alum was married on the Grand Rapids Pew Campus. The large amount of construction for the event calls into question what limits the university will go to provide a special space for a campus wedding.

For three weeks, a secret construction project, which has been kept under wraps in the courtyard of the DeVos Center, had students and faculty alike questioning its purpose. The construction began before the new year and takes up a majority of the courtyard of DeVos Center. The evidence as to what the the construction was for remained unclear to many members of the community.

“The only thing I know is it is a private event taking place this weekend,” said GVSU Security Supervisor Kathleen Barcom. “No other details are known.”

Many university officials were tactful in keeping the construction and its event quiet.

"The construction on DeVos Center is for an external private event,” said Associate Vice President of Facilities Services Grand Rapids and Regional Centers Lisa Haynes.

This private event was eventually disclosed to be a wedding reception for a GVSU alum. However, the magnitude and time frame for the reception's construction, which included a temporary glass building with hung curtains and lights, sparked the curiosity of who could be holding such a grand event. 

Some projected the construction to cost upwards of $500,000, but the university could not provide any information regarding financial details of the event. All wedding construction and reception costs are paid for by the families and parties hosting them.

“The Pew Grand Rapids Campus is host to between 30 and 40 wedding receptions each year,” said Assistant Director of Conference Planning Kathleen Wright. “Couples and their families determine what kind of wedding and reception they will have.”

Faculty were told not concern themselves with the project, even when the construction obstructed some parts of the DeVos Center. On Jan. 18 and 19, the bookstore and food services located in The Plaza in DeVos Building C were closed for the event, as was the DeVos parking lot. Pedestrians were detoured into DeVos Center and Eberhard Center through Fulton Street and Lake Michigan Drive for the archway connecting the DeVos lot to the Eberhard Center were closed. 

All closures were reopened on Jan. 20, the day following the event. 

“Tear-down will begin immediately following the event,” Wright said.

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