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Artist’s ren­dering of the pro­posed ren­o­va­tions to Hills­dale’s Kirby Center. Hillsdale College

Fundraising has begun for expansion of Hillsdale’s Wash­ington, D.C., campus, with the pur­chase of two addi­tional buildings that will house the Van Andel Graduate School of Gov­ernment and other offices, as well as a plan to build a courtyard that will connect the buildings along Mass­a­chu­setts Avenue. 

The Allan P. Kirby Center for Con­sti­tu­tional Studies and Cit­i­zenship, located on Capitol Hill, has housed Hillsdale’s D.C. oper­a­tions since 2008. The growing graduate school, which began classes in D.C. in the fall of 2019, and the increased number of staff prompted the idea for expansion. 

The plans also include adding a pent­house on top of the new Van Andel building, and a rooftop veranda on the Kirby Center. The Van Andel building will provide an addi­tional 7,000 square feet to Kirby’s 12,000 square feet. 

“The existing pro­grams have been growing and expanding, and now with the grad school coming into being and now growing all neces­sitate having more space,” said Matthew Spalding, vice pres­ident of Wash­ington oper­a­tions and dean of the Van Andel Graduate School of Gov­ernment. “But in true Hillsdale fashion, that space will be beau­tiful, well thought-out, and done won­der­fully, and I’m looking forward to all that.”

The project will cost an esti­mated $14 million, with most of the funding coming from the ongoing Four Pillars Cam­paign, the capital cam­paign launched in 2019, according to Rich Péwé, Hillsdale’s chief admin­is­trative officer. The college will also need to raise several million beyond what was set aside for the expansion in the Four Pillars Campaign.

The pro­ject’s timeline depends on D.C. bureau­cracy, Péwé said. Since the Kirby Center is a his­toric building built around the turn of the 20th century, all changes need approval from the His­torical Preser­vation Office. 

The plans also must be approved by the Public Space Com­mittee and regular building safety codes. Hillsdale has already been in com­mu­ni­cation with the His­torical Preser­vation Office for several months, but due to the COVID-19-induced backlog, there is no esti­mation of when it might get approval on the building plans. Until this happens, all plans are tentative.

“In the Wash­ington, D.C., envi­ronment there are a lot of reg­u­latory things we have to get through,” Péwé said. 

One of the main issues the college is dealing with regarding the reg­u­latory agencies is whether or not the buildings can be inter­nally com­bined. The answer will affect the fundraising strategy. 

“There’s been some good fundraising already, but once we establish if there will be two sep­arate buildings or one building, we’ll be able to move forward and try to do some really aggressive fundraising,” Péwé said.

According to the President’s Club News, a pub­li­cation for college donors, there are “35 naming oppor­tu­nities, ranging from $100,000 to $1.5 million, including for student study rooms, class­rooms, faculty and staff offices, and a library seminar room” in the expansion plans.

The entire ren­o­vation will likely be broken into five dif­ferent cam­paigns, but Péwé said the best case sce­nario would be to receive a gift to cover the whole project. 

“If we had a gift for the whole thing, we could do it all together all at once,” he said. “This would be the most eco­nomical and least dis­ruptive way to do it, but we may not have that ability, depending on how the fundraising goes.”

Spalding said the ren­o­va­tions will further Hillsdale’s mission in Wash­ington, D.C.

“I think it really shows that Hillsdale is devel­oping a larger campus foot­print in the nation’s capital,” he said. “And I think that’s important to solidify who we are and what we do. This is part of a long-term ful­fillment and expansion of that mission.”