John and Marlene Boll Campus Center opens at ULS

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published September 11, 2018

 The University Liggett School community gathered the afternoon of Sept. 9 for the grand opening of the John and Marlene Boll Campus Center, located on the school’s campus in Grosse Pointe Woods.

The University Liggett School community gathered the afternoon of Sept. 9 for the grand opening of the John and Marlene Boll Campus Center, located on the school’s campus in Grosse Pointe Woods.

Photo by Maria Allard

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Families, staff and alumni of University Liggett School gathered the afternoon of Sept. 9 for the grand opening of the John and Marlene Boll Campus Center.

The new 30,200-square-foot center features a state-of-the-art gymnasium, a fitness center and weight room, locker rooms, several basketball hoops, a gathering area and storage space. Construction of the new building began in the fall of 2017.

The center is located on the north side of Cook Road, on the athletics side of the ULS campus, next to the McCann Ice Arena. No buildings were demolished to build the new facility.

Bart Bronk, Liggett head of school, said the new building will be a “bustling hub of activity.”

“The Boll Campus Center is our next great step forward with a much-needed gym and event space,” Bronk said. “It will serve as a community gathering place for students, parents and alumni. Never before have we had a space like this.”

The John and Marlene Boll Campus Center was named in honor of local residents John and Marlene Boll, of the John A. and Marlene L. Boll Foundation, who made the lead gift of $4.25 million to Liggett’s Sure Foundations campaign. Many other donors also made contributions to benefit the new center.

The $50 million Sure Foundations campaign invests in the school’s campus, builds its endowment and raises funds for operational support to students and staff.

“The campaign has already enriched our campus in many ways,” said John Stroh III, ULS Board of Trustees president emeritus, one of several guest speakers who provided remarks at Sunday’s grand opening. “We are thrilled to be here today to see that vision of the campaign become a reality.”

He added that the Bolls’ donation is “the largest single gift in the school’s history.”

John and Marlene Boll and many of their family members were in attendance at the Sept. 9 event, including daughter Kristine Boll Mestdagh, who addressed the crowd.

“While my family is honored to have our name on a building here at University Liggett School, it is not about our name,” she said. “It is about recognizing other men and women not well-known who have given of themselves (every day.)”

That includes those individuals, including the planners and construction workers, who worked to make the John and Marlene Boll Campus Center come to fruition.

“This building is a commitment to the value of the teachers, to the value of their work and to the value of the students. The Boll Center will touch many generations to come,” Boll Mestdagh said. “We thank you for being a part of this amazing time in my parents’ lives, and this amazing time for Liggett School. God bless and go Knights!”

Grosse Pointe Memorial Church Pastor Peter Henry; ULS Board of Trustees President David Nicholson; Class of 2019 student and student commission President Billy Kopicki; and Kelley Hamilton, Liggett associate head of school for external relations, also provided remarks Sunday. Hamilton said the Sure Foundations campaign has raised $37.5 million of the $50 million goal from outside donors.

Other features of the John and Marlene Boll Campus Center include camera surveillance, an all-new information technology infrastructure, fiber lines that will connect to the main campus and McCann Ice Arena, a batting cage, tennis and volleyball courts, and cameras to record and broadcast the school’s athletic events. Those in attendance Sunday toured the new facility and also enjoyed an all-school picnic.