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Secchia Piazza links West Michigan with culinary world

Piazza outside view

Grand Rapids Community College’s world-class teaching culinary program has gained a new piazza allowing it to serve more guests and share the story of students’ journeys from Secchia Institute for Culinary Education to destinations around the globe.

The new Secchia Piazza is a gift from the late Peter Secchia and his family, whose generosity and drive for excellence helped the Secchia Institute create state-of-the-art facilities, attract top faculty members, and prepare students for rewarding careers in the hospitality industry.

The Secchia Piazza is located in GRCC’s Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center, 151 Fountain St. NE and will be used by GRCC students, faculty and staff, and the greater community as an event space and a place to come to reflect and connect to the Secchia Institute.

Designed by Progressive AE, the renovations will enclose an underused outdoor patio, and add a 31-foot-wide, 15-foot-tall, colorful "SkyCone" that already has become one of the college’s most recognizable features. Granger Construction is overseeing the project.

A tondo -- a round floor pattern -- designed by GRCC Communications Department artists will evoke the educational pathway students take from the Secchia Institute to culinary opportunities across the country and around the world.

The Secchia Piazza will be the newest part of an institute that is known around the world for the quality of its faculty, students, and facilities.

GRCC’s culinary program was renamed after Secchia and his wife, Joan, in 2007. The Pietro and Regina Amphitheater, named after Peter Secchia’s grandparents, was added in 2012. Peter’s Pub was launched in 2016 as part of GRCC’s Fountain Hill Brewery, tapping into the demand created by Grand Rapids’ growing craft beer industry.

“The Secchia Institute for Culinary Education has long been recognized as one of Grand Rapids’ best teaching and dining experiences, and Peter Secchia always believed our students are capable of great things,” said Dr. Kathryn Mullins, vice president for College Advancement and executive director of the GRCC Foundation. “These additions will create a beautiful setting to tell the story of the Secchia Institute and the opportunities it creates for students.”