Pulling together into the future

A group of volunteers pull the antique plow through Tabor Park to break ground for the Shari Flaming Fine Arts Center. In the driver?s seat is Chuck Flaming, who donated the lead gift of $2 million for the facility to be named after his wife, Shari. Numerous furrows were plowed until everyone who wanted to got a chance to participate. Don Ratzlaff / Free Press

Powered by its supporters, Tabor College breaks ground for its long-awaited fine arts center.

With volunteers from the audience pulling a vintage horse-drawn sulky plow, Tabor College broke ground Saturday afternoon for its long-awaited Shari Flaming Center for the Arts in Tabor Park.

?This is a great day in the history of Tabor College,? said Jules Glanzer, president. ?The generations have been waiting for this moment, and you have made this happen. You and hundreds of others like you have come together here. You?ve given your hard-earned dollars, your appreciated assets, your life savings. Some have given out of abundance, some have given out of great sacrifice.?

The dream to build this type of performing arts building began nearly 50 years ago.

?Today is a new day,? said Larry Nikkel, president emeritus. ?For today we stand in almost the same spot we stood 35 years ago to break ground for the Wohlgemuth Music Educa?tion Center, but today is different. God has heard our prayers and blessed our efforts with the resources to assure that the dream so long deferred is now a dream becoming realized.?

Tabor has raised $14.4 million of the $16.2 million Signature Campaign goal. The remaining $1.8 million will be used to endow the facility, meet the annual fund needs and pay for campus enhancements. Of the $14.4 million, $10.2 million is specifically designated for the Center for the Arts.

As plow owner Glenn Litke signals ?Go!,? Tabor College President Jules Glanzer takes his turn at the tiller. Don Ratzlaff / Free PressAn additional $2.8 million needs to be raised to build a facility that will meet the needs of Tabor?s visual and performing arts departments.

Susan Koslowsky, steering committee chair and alumna of Tabor, called the groundbreaking for the building a monumental and historic moment.

?Our donors have been enthusiastic and passionate about the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts, and know the importance of having a place for the community, for Tabor College and our students,? Koslowsky said. ?We?ve raised more money here at Tabor than we ever have in the history of the college.?

Many people in attendance participated in the actual groundbreaking ceremony. Two ropes were tied to the old plow; various dignitaries took turns sitting on the plow seat. With volunteers providing people power, several furrows were created to signify the start of construction.

One of those riding on the plow was Chuck Flam?ing, a farmer from Nebraska who generously donated the lead gift to name the building after his wife, Shari.

?It?s all about honoring God,? Flaming said. ?It?s not about us. It?s about Him and the future of the college of young people learning foundations of having a relationship with Jesus Christ. As we see the whole world in turmoil and chaos, if there?s ever a time for Christian leadership it?s now and hopefully this will be a small part of it and we are just humbled to be a part of it.?

Site preparation for the new facility will begin early this summer. Construction of the building will ensue in fall 2015. The entire project is expected to be completed and dedicated late in 2016.

The Center for the Arts will include a performance auditorium, a black-box theater, a grand lobby, classrooms, a recording studio, choral rehearsal room and a visual arts education wing.

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