- Steve Ohnsman
DeVos Fieldhouse - Hope Flying Dutchmen
Photos by Steve Ohnsman, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43
DeVos Fieldhouse 222 Fairbanks Ave. Holland, MI 49423
Hope College Flying Dutchmen website
Year Opened: 2005
A Jewel of Small College Arenas
Hope College has a storied men’s basketball history which was enhanced in 2005 when the DeVos Fieldhouse opened. The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation contributed an anchor gift of $7,500,000 for the project which ended up totaling $22,000,000. It holds 3,009 fans and also serves the women’s basketball and men’s/women’s volleyball programs. In 1990 and 2006, the women’s basketball team and the 2014 women’s volleyball team won the D3 national title.
Hope is an NCAA Division III college and a long-standing member of the MIAA Conference. While it is clearly impossible to compare all of the D3 schools’ facilities, this might be one of the best in the country. Hope College has led the USA D3 men’s basketball attendance for the last 15 consecutive years and the women’s hoops attendance the last 9 seasons.
The facility is also used by the citizens of Holland, Michigan for various events throughout the year. One-half mile to the west is downtown Holland and the Hope College campus, while the school’s baseball, softball, football, and soccer stadiums are less than a mile east of the fieldhouse. A seven-mile drive takes fans to the shores of Lake Michigan, enjoying views of Lake Macatawa along the way.
Food & Beverage 4
Two identical concession stands flank the courtyard entry and they offer a nice variety of items including a personal pizza ($4.25), pulled pork sandwich ($5.25), hot dog ($3.50), and the highly recommended “Michigander” ($5.25). The sandwich is a Founders beer bratwurst on an oatmeal stout bun with house pickled peppers and onions; all sandwich combos include chips and a soda.
Healthy alternatives include chicken Caesar wrap and fruit cups. Pepsi products come fountain style $2.50 for 20-ounces, along with coffee, bottled water, and Gatorade. Other traditional snacks are also available. No alcohol is sold in the arena.
Each stand has an “Extra Point Card” to help regular fans to save some money. For every $4 purchase at “any” Hope Athletic Concession Booth, the card is punched; after 10 punches, the cardholder gets $4 off a future purchase.
The main entrance is on the east side of the arena. Fans enter the building at ground level and walk down to their seats. The first five rows of the upper bowl have very comfortable padded seats, the next five rows are plastic and the bottom six rows are bleacher-style. Ten rows of bleacher seats are behind one basket.
Concession stands and restrooms are near the entrance doors. The seats do not have cup holders, but they are quite comfortable and provide excellent sight lines to the floor. Additional bleacher seats are behind the basket on the west side. The sound system is excellent with great music.
Along the north and south side, the history of all Hope’s athletic teams is displayed in an impressive manner. There are windows along one wall allowing a view into the training facilities, a trophy case is near the entrance, and the scoreboard over center court provides team statistics.
Hope’s Mascot is named Dutch; he is a tall bearded character who greets fans before the game and hangs with the student section during the game. The staff is very friendly and welcoming and an excellent, free game day program is available at the entrance.
The fieldhouse is located in a residential neighborhood less than half a mile from a great small town center offering plenty of things to do before and after the game in terms of eating and drinking.
Recommended restaurants are a short drive away and include DeBoer Bakkerij for breakfast and lunch plus great bakery items, Daddio’s Carry Out’s for excellent Southern food, Salt and Pepper Savory Grill for lunch and dinner, and Seventy-Six Restaurant for creative American fare.
Western Michigan is really “hopping” when it comes to craft breweries and Holland has several spots to check out, including Brewery 4 Two 4, Our Brewing Company, Big Lake Brewing, and New Holland Brewing.
While visiting the area, the Holland State Park Beach on Lake Michigan is very popular, along with Windmill Island Gardens and the Felt Estate. Holland is the home of the annual Tulip Festival.
The Downtown Courtyard Hotel and City Flats Hotel are the best nearby lodging facilities. Many others can be found along highway US 31.
The long tradition of athletic success has translated into a very loyal, loud, supportive and knowledgeable fan base. If you are looking for that unique small college experience, this is the place. Hope leads the country for D3 basketball attendance with crowds well over the 2,000 plateau.
Section 10 is reserved for Hope students and they pack it full. They are called the “Dew Crew” and are sponsored by Mountain Dew.
Stadium Journey was fortunate to attend a Calvin – Hope game, a rivalry rated number 4 in the country by ESPN (the only D3 to be honored with such a recognition). The game has been televised for 50 years; even better, was the fact that this was the 200th game for this historic and friendly competition. What an atmosphere.
Even though DeVos Fieldhouse is in a residential area, it is an easy drive or walk from downtown. Free parking lots surround the facility; check the small lot on the north side for a few spots open to the public. The entrance is through the east side. The MAX Transit has bus stops at the arena with the nearest airport in Grand Rapids.
Once inside, we suggest walking around both concourses to see the historic displays of Hope’s athletics and the trophy cases. The court is readily visible from the concourse above. Restrooms are located at the east and west ends of the arena. They are very clean and designed properly for typical crowds. Handicap parking and seating are very good for those needing assistance.
Return on Investment 5
As they say: “Such a Deal”
Tickets cost $10 for very comfortable padded seats, $7 for adult bleacher seats and $5 bleacher seats for children 18 and under. Free parking is great and the concession prices are a bargain. Regular fans can save a few bucks using the Extra Point Card.
Extra points go for an overall great atmosphere, professional high-quality game day production, free parking, low concession prices, sports history kiosks along the concourse, many championship banners overhead and the delightful downtown nearby.