Capital campaign to change campus

Lydia Jayaputra—Copy Editor

Photo Credit: Dordt University

If you’re enrolled at Dordt University for long enough to see it, ready yourself for a transplanted Commons, indoor softball games, and increased scholarship opportunities.

Dordt University’s ‘Planting for the Future’ Capital campaign aims to fundraise $90 million for various campus changes, including infrastructure, scholarships, and additions to faculty. 

Planting for the Future, one-hundred percent donor-funded, has already raised over $70 million. Currently, the campaign’s effects are sprouting up across campus, as a number of additions and renovations have begun. Still, others won’t break ground until years into the future.

“The response of our donor community in almost every case has exceeded our hopes,” said John Baas, Dordt University’s Vice President of Advancement. “People who love Dordt, really love Dordt… We have to give God the praise for it.” 

While the capital campaign went public this spring, planning and fundraising started three years ago. In the early, non-public fundraising stages, the campaign brought in single-donor, multi-million-dollar donations. 

As the fundraising progressed, though, donations averaged in the thousands.

“We often say the first $20 million comes easier than the last,” Baas said. “The first $20 million might come in four gifts, and the last $20 million might take 5,000 gifts.” 

Regarding their donations, donors may direct their funds toward a specific project or entity, though they often allow Dordt to use the money as it sees fit.  

Photo Credit: Dordt University

“We basically give the donors a menu of things to choose from,” Baas said.

Dordt’s menu ranges from infrastructure to scholarships to funding for faculty. These changes comes with their own timeline, budget, and reasoning. Listed below are the physical changes of the Campaign Dordt which students will see in the years to come.

Nursing and Agriculture Center Expansions: $13 million

In 2019, the university unveiled the Carl and Gloria Zylstra Nursing and Education Center. The addition, which shifted the nursing department away from a partnership with St. Luke’s College in Sioux City, featured patient simulators, observation rooms, and a simulation skills lab.

 “Nursing and agriculture are always among our top five majors and we saw opportunity for growth in them,” Baas said. 

The Agricultural Stewardship Center, also funded by the campaign, contains expanded classrooms, labs, and practicum spaces. In addition, other agriculture expansions are currently underway, including a monoslope cattle building, livestock building, grain storage, and equipment storage shed.

B.J. Haan Auditorium Performing Arts Venue Expansion and Remodel: $15 million

While a portion of the B.J. Haan’s remodel, including livestreaming and technical upgrades, are operational, future expansions of the building include a smaller, 150-seat recital hall for performances, an expanded lobby, and added restroom space.  

“The technology in there was almost obsolete, and forty years is just a lot of time to ask of a building,” said Aaron Baart, chief of staff and dean of chapel. “It was time for a face-lift.”

Photo Credit: Dordt University

Dining Commons: $6 million

The university’s dining hall will relocate between the B.J. Haan and the Campus Center, connecting the two buildings. The current Commons, built in the 1970s, has largely remained unchanged. 

“We can’t even buy parts for some of the equipment if something breaks down, that’s how old it is,” Baas said. “They recently had to fix something over there by 3-D printing a part… it’s well past time for us to build something new.” 

Rozenboom Family Athletic Center: $11 million

The Rozenboom Family Athletic Center includes changes to the DeWitt Gymnasium and the Recreation Center. The DeWitt Gym will gain air conditioning, expanded locker rooms, a ‘Gold Club’ Hospitality Room, and an improved main lobby. The Rec Center will upgrade its track and court floors, curtains and dividers, and scoreboards.

“We thought [upgrading Dordt’s athletic areas] would be the next thing after this campaign, not during this campaign,” Baas said. “Then, unexpectedly late last year, we had a major gift in honor of an alumnus, David Rozenboom, that caused us to accelerate the project.”

Once the spring semester ends, the Rec Center will close for around five weeks to replace the track. Baas estimated other upgrades to occur in a few years.

American State Bank Sports Complex: $4 million

The indoor complex will house a turf large enough to hold softball games and spectator seats. Dordt and the city of Sioux Center split the funding of the dome, which will fuction as a weather-resistant, community-oriented sports complex. 

“This is going to help Dordt be a better neighbor,” said Baas. 

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