A rich history of support for the arts and environmental stewardship exists in West Michigan, from both residents and local businesses, and often times the two go hand-in-hand. A clear example of this relationship is how the Forest Hills Public Schools System designed and built their Fine Arts Center, and how the Grand Rapids Ballet expanded their facility to include the Peter Martin Wege Theatre. They are both community centered and supported, state-of-the-art performance facilities and LEED Certified, bicycle friendly buildings.
The Forest Hills Public Schools system, located in West Michigan, is a champion of environmentally sound building design and community engagement. Beginning in 2001 the school system made a commitment to use the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program as a baseline for projects, and has since then constructed four LEED certified buildings. In 2003 they built the Fine Arts Center, designed to be in harmony with its natural surroundings, and it is the first of its type to earn LEED Certification in the US, receiving LEED Silver under the New Construction v2.0 Rating System. As part of the commitment to be bicycle friendly, the Center purchased CycleSafe U/2 Bike Racks for the facility.
The Center, made possible through a special bond referendum approved in 2000 in an effort to enhance the artistic growth and enjoyment of area youth, families, and seniors, is a 62,000 square foot, 1,200-seat performing arts center. The Fine Arts Center provides a broad spectrum of art enrichment classes, art exhibits, special concerts, performances and lectures that draw participation from more than just the local community. Many world-class professionals and artists have showcased their work at the facility.
In 2006 the Grand Rapids Ballet was experiencing tremendous growth of the Company and School, and an increased demand for the Dancer’s Theatre Series, prompting the second stage of the Next Step Campaign launched in 2000. This part of the campaign was to raise $7.5 million to expand their dance rehearsal space and school facility to also include a 300-seat performance theater known as the Peter Martin Wege Theatre. The facility earned LEED Certification and as a part of those efforts purchased CycleSafe Vintage Bike Racks to help promote bicycle transportation.
The Company averages 50 performances each year, and has even performed at the Fine Arts Center. There are 24 professional dancers in the Company, as well as apprentices and trainees from around the world. Students can learn from instructors with a range of professional dance backgrounds at the Grand Rapids Ballet School, and community members can attend the free introductory classes through the Dance Immersion program. The arts center is a place to enjoy high-level performances and experience quality education for all of Michigan.
In both projects the design teams decided to attempt the Sustainable Sites credit 4.2: Alternative transportation – bicycle storage and changing rooms, which is a part of the USGBC LEED Rating System. This credit requires that the building provide suitable means for securing bicycles, with convenient changing/shower facilities for use by cyclists, for 5% or more of building occupants. They needed to purchase products that were high quality, eco-friendly and that met LEED requirements. They also wanted to purchase bicycle parking from a local vendor.
CycleSafe is located in the Forest Hills community, and was a natural choice for each of the projects.
CycleSafe intentionally employs local suppliers and vendors for all of its products. The steel products and stainless fasteners are purchased from regional suppliers, local corrugators are used to supply packaging materials and shipping pallets are made locally. CycleSafe makes these commitments as the company is also dedicated to manufacturing environmentally friendly products.
The CycleSafe U/2 Racks and Vintage Bike Racks are inverted U Racks that accommodate two bicycles each, securing the wheel and frame. This design increases the stability of the bike, and helps to prevent bikes from colliding with one another. It is an efficient design that results in more bikes being parked in less space when compared to “wave type” racks. It is also a safer design for heavily trafficked pedestrian areas such as the ones at the center.
Both of these heavy duty bike racks also offer leading technology with heavy gauge 1-1/2” Schd. 40 steel pipe coated with a 1/8” thick black rubberized coating, making them durable and maintenance free. The main difference between the two types of racks is that the Vintage Bike Racks have a charm of years past including a novel design pattern.
As a result of installing CycleSafe Bicycle Racks several of the Fine Arts Center and the Peter Martin Wege Theatre project objectives were met. The installation of these racks provided secure bicycle parking for the buildings making them bicycle friendly for all users. The parking also assisted efforts to meet LEED Certification requirements, and was provided by a local vendor using local materials. CycleSafe is proud to have been a part of these projects and are committed to manufacturing products that will help future projects to earn LEED Certification.
Project in Brief
Forest Hills Fine Arts Center
- Architect: Integrated Architecture
- USGBC LEED Silver Award
Grand Rapids Ballet
- Architect: Design Plus
- USGBC LEED Certification