Capital campaign hits the ground

Bri Gardner — Staff writer

Dordt University’s campus is about to drastically change, as the Planting for the Future Capital Campaign begins laying groundwork for initial projects starting in March 2023.

The Planting for the Future Capital Campaign is a $90 million campaign dedicated to the expansion and improvement of Dordt’s campus. Some of the projects in this campaign include a new dining facility, renovations to the De Witt gymnasium, and continued development of several departments, such as nursing and agriculture.

While it’s not on the campaign’s webpage, Dordt also recently approved a $6 million budget for four new two-story apartments. These buildings were recently approved for construction to start in March. Before then there was speculation regarding housing, but nothing was finalized. According to Dallas Bourdo, the Assistant Director of Admissions, prospective students were told that “new housing is on the horizon.”

The buildings will be located north of the parking lot behind the BJ Haan Auditorium. Howard Wilson, Vice President of Operations, detailed the construction of these plans, stating that each of the four townhouse-like buildings will have two stories with two bedrooms located upstairs and one downstairs, along with a kitchen and bathroom. These two-story apartments will each hold six or seven upperclassmen students for a total of 96 beds added to Dordt’s campus.

One of the bedrooms will be larger than the other two, with the hope that seven students can easily fit into one apartment. The bathrooms will also be larger. Wilson said they will contain two showers, two toilets, and three sinks.

Each building will also have a shared living space. Dordt is unsure of what this space will hold, but they are working with students, asking questions about what they would like to see in the new facilities. Ideas include high speed internet, a place to barbecue, room for yard games, etc.

“As a graduate of Dordt not having that, I’m a little jealous!” Assistant Director of Admissions Dallas Bourdo said.

The housing on campus has continually shifted and changed over the years. In the beginning, Dordt had no housing on campus, with students living in Sioux Center residents’ basements. In the 1980s, there were two trailer parks for student housing. Since then, the need for housing has vastly increased.

Last semester, Dordt was at 99 percent capacity, with close to 1450 students living on campus. For the past three years, Dordt has seen a trend of record enrollment, and is not expecting a break in the trend for the class of 2027. These new housing facilities are an attempt to accommodate everyone.

“Our board has told us that we don’t want to be a school with restricted enrollment,” Wilson said. “We want to plan for growth.”

In addition to the new apartments, Dordt is also planning on renovating some of their current facilities over the summer. Dordt is constructing three new classrooms, 11 more offices, and 60 new parking spots. North Hall will also receive a carpet and paint update.

The long-awaited air conditioning for North and East, however, is on hold. Funding for the project is listed in the Capital Campaign, but it is a pricier project, which Wilson projected to be about 3.2 million dollars, up from one million before 2020.

Each of these projects is intended to create lasting spaces for students for years to come. When discussing projects with builders, Wilson said he and others ask the builders to plan their projects with a 50-year design life in mind.

Wilson partners with faculty members in Admissions and other departments to ensure the planned spaces will positively contribute to campus culture.

“To have a space that you can make homey and really feel like it’s yours is really important,” Bourdo said.

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