Tabor College President Jules Glanzer was stuck in a rut Saturday, and no one was happier about it than he was.
Glanzer was sitting atop an antique plow used for the groundbreaking ceremony for the Shari Flaming Center of the Arts, a milestone celebrated by more than 200 people gathered at Tabor Park. Pulled by about 20 people tugging on two ropes, the plow came to an abrupt stop when it hit a root. With some extra effort, the root snapped, and Glanzer completed the ceremonial ride.
“I figured, ‘What else can happen?’” Glanzer said. “I figured they’d be strong enough to pull me out.”
Using the plow rather than shovels to mark the occasion symbolized a fundraising campaign that has raised more than $14 million to make the new arts center a reality.
“Instead of five gray-haired men and maybe one gray-haired lady pushing a shovel into the ground, we wanted to make it a celebratory event where everybody could participate in it,” Glanzer said. “This has been a campaign of a lot of people pitching in, from little kids to senior adults.”
Glanzer reached into a pocket to pull out a small notecard.
“This is a card my granddaughter sent,” he said. “She sent one dollar with it. Seven years old.”
Tabor Board of Directors Chariman Lyndon Vix said the range of donors to the campaign was remarkable.
“We have had a very gratifying spread of where the gifts have come from,” Vix said. “Some have given out of abundance and pushed it into sacrifice, and for some people their first gift is a sacrifice. It truly is a testament to the faith of Tabor people, to the love they have for Tabor College, and to Jules and (Ron Braun, vice president of advancement) and their relentlessness about this campaign.”
Vix, a 1982 Tabor graduate, said the spacious new facility dedicated to the arts will be a far cry from the makeshift arrangements used by music ensembles when he was a student.
“I was in the choir and in the band,” Vix said. “We practiced in the Mary J. Regier building in the upper level in cramped quarters, and we did our choir in the chapel, so to have a dedicated space not just for practices for performance is going to be huge.”
The arts center also will give the college a large enough venue to for all students, faculty, and staff to come together for worship and activities, Vix said. It will also serve people in the surrounding area.
“We don’t even know yet what we’ll be able to do with this,” Vix said. “I think that the entire county and beyond is going to be enriched by what goes on here, not just by what Tabor puts on here, but what we’re able to bring in, to give a little bit more of a taste of some cultural things that are hard to do unless you travel a ways.”
“It will build the local community here, it will be a gift to the broader community, and it will also change our culture as a campus,” Glanzer said.
Ground preparation in advance of construction will begin this summer, with the building tentatively scheduled for completion in late 2016.