Around 300 Tabor College donors, faculty, staff, and students attended the annual donor appreciation dinner Friday evening at Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church, during which Tabor President Jules Glanzer announced the school’s goal to build a new Center for the Arts on campus.
“We are excited to elevate Tabor College to the next level when it comes to the fine arts,” Glanzer said. “We want our students to be able to learn, grow, and perform in this brand new 50,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility. This will finally give us a place for our students to come and worship under one roof, all together.”
The public phase of fund raising — the Signature Campaign — will help the college raise the final $6.25 million of the $16.2 million needed to build the Center for the Arts, endow the facility, meet annual fund needs, and provide other campus enhancements.
“Of that $6.25 million we need to raise $2.7 million to receive a $1 million gift from the Maybee Foundation,” Tabor Director of Communications Katrina Hancock said. “We are also applying for other grants.”
The addition is a 50,000 square foot expansion of the Wolgemuth Music Education Center. It will include an 850-seat performance auditorium with a full-fly stage and orchestra pit, a smaller 150-seat theater, a set design shop, a grand lobby, an art gallery, rehearsal and recording spaces, a visual arts education wing, as well as classroom space and an area for hosting dinners.
Before Friday’s dinner, patrons walked around a display of artwork and graphic designs created by Tabor students. The entire evening had a fine arts-themed program, which included performances by the Tabor College Concert Choir and theater students.
After dinner, Glanzer showed the audience a video promoting the project and several others spoke about its importance for both students and county residents.
“Those that live in Marion County and surrounding areas regularly attend our music concerts, theatrical shows, art exhibits, and community dinners,” vice president of advancement Ron Braun said.
“This facility will accommodate everyone, including the elderly and disabled people in our community,” Braun added. “With the facilities we have now on campus, we are unable to accommodate everyone.”
The new facility will be named the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts in honor of a $2 million contribution made by Chuck and Shari Flaming, a farm couple from Paxton, Neb., neither of which are Tabor alumni.
However, Chuck Flaming decided to make a considerable donation for a definite reason.
“I knew the college needed this building, it’s for Christ’s Kingdom,” Chuck said. “I love my wife so much that I could think of no better way to honor her.”
Groundbreaking is expected in October 2015 with construction beginning soon after. The entire project is expected to be completed and dedicated in 2017.