Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Breaks Ground on $115 Million Expansion Project

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, one of the nation’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, is pleased to announce the groundbreaking of a major $115 million expansion project. Since opening in 1995, Meijer Gardens has experienced tremendous growth in guest attendance, membership, art collections, dedicated garden spaces, and educational programs. Annually, over 750,000 people visit Meijer Gardens. Owing to such growth, a major expansion of facilities is needed.

“Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park continues to benefit from the enormous generosity of the people of West Michigan,” said President and CEO David Hooker. “It is a privilege and with an abundance of joy to announce Meijer Gardens has received gifts and pledges achieving our Welcoming the World: Honoring a Legacy of Love capital campaign goal of $115,000,000.  On behalf of our board, volunteers, staff, membership and guests, we express our deep and sincere appreciation for the warm embrace we have once again received from the community to further our mission.”

This expansion will further Meijer Gardens’ mission to promote the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of gardens, sculpture, the natural environment and the arts. The new project addresses facility needs that came from significant growth over the institution’s 22-year history. New areas will allow Meijer Gardens to increase educational offerings, expand annual horticulture exhibitions, provide more galleries for sculpture exhibitions and art storage facilities, add room for guests to move about safely and easily, host more events, and create additional space that is LEED-certified and architecturally significant. The project will also add parking capacity and improve vehicle flow.

The generosity of the Meijer family and the thousands of donors from our community has helped Meijer Gardens become one of the most visited museums in the world. “The very name of our capital campaign has deep meaning. We truly aspire to welcome people from all over the world to visit Meijer Gardens. It is equally important that we continue to honor the legacy of love that has been given to us by Fred and Lena Meijer, the Meijer family, and thousands of team members, volunteers and donors who have created this very special place.” Hooker said.

“The word enjoyment is in the middle of our mission statement,” Hooker added. “Our mission calls on us to bring joy to people using the art forms of sculpture and horticulture. The gifts we have been given will be used to bring tremendous joy to people. We’re thrilled with the success of our ambitious capital campaign, but mostly we are deeply moved by the community’s continued generosity toward Meijer Gardens.”

New York firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners has been selected from a wide-spread international search to re-envision and expand the facilities. Well-known for their masterful design of the iconic Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and, most recently, chosen to design the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, Williams and Tsien see architecture as “an act of profound optimism.” They have discovered a similar spirit in Meijer Gardens’ unique marriage of beautiful art and inspiring green spaces. “We are deeply honored to have been selected by Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park for this special project,” said Tod Williams. “From our very first visit, we were struck by the incredible quality of the sculpture collection and its sensitive installation throughout the grounds, as well as by their magnificent Japanese Garden. We saw that the place and the people here are unique.” Guided by Tod and Billie, the design team has ensured that the new Meijer Gardens campus is an expression of the mission of Meijer Gardens in both form and function. Local partners Progressive AE and Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. are heavily involved with the construction process.

The project includes:

  • A new 60,000 square foot, LEED certified Welcome Center
  • A new 20,000 square foot, LEED certified Covenant Learning Center
  • A new Peter C. and Emajean Cook Transportation Center for Outdoor Tram Tours
  • Expanded and upgraded Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater
  • A new Sculpture Garden Entry Plaza
  • A reimagined and expanded BISSELL, Inc. Scenic Corridor
  • A new Outdoor Picnic Pavilion
  • Expanded and re-designed Tassell-Wisner-Bottrall English Perennial Garden
  • A new Padnos Families Rooftop Sculpture Garden
  • Expanded and accessible parking and urban gardens

The first phase of expansion began in September and will last approximately four years.