Stadium Project Approaches Long Anticipated Start

January 28, 2009

Categories: General News

“By Don Ratzlaff, Editor” ’’Hillsboro Free Press’‘

Now that the legal hurdles have been cleared and the game plan has been tweaked, planners from Tabor College and USD 410 are looking eagerly toward the starting line for construction on their jointly owned stadium and athletic facility.

Bids will be reviewed next week, and if all goes well the race will begin around March 1 to complete the $5-plus million project in time for the fall sports season.

In the end, Mother Nature may be the game maker or breaker.

“The big factor will be the weather and getting contractors here,” said Doug Huxman, USD 410 superintendent. “If the weather cooperates, everybody says they can be done.”

Whether the project makes the deadline, planning committee members from both entities agree the prize will be worth the effort: having one of the best high school and small-college facilities in the state.

“On the day it’s completed it will be the best facility in our conference,” said Rusty Allen, vice president for athletics at Tabor. “There may be schools who have a piece (of the project) that is a little nicer than ours, but when you take the whole facility as a whole, it will be the best facility in the conference.”

Hard work, long haul

The original project—50-50 ownership with each party contributing just under $2.02 million—was narrowly approved by USD 410 patrons in a bond election in June 2007.

But it was forced to the sidelines for 16 months after patron Raymond Brandt filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of joint ownership of public-school property.

The district court finally ruled in the district’s favor last August, but Brandt filed an appeal in September. The district then reached a financial settlement with Brandt in early October for $27,500 to drop the suit.

That cleared the way for the district and the college to move ahead with the project, but with one more considerable challenge: Over the 16 months from the time the suit was filed until it was settled, the estimated cost of construction had increased by $800,000.

As a result, the two parties have been working to bring the project back to within the $4.04 million partnership—without reducing quality.

Planning committee members from both entities believe they have accomplished that.

“We have ‘valued engineered’ all over the place while maintaining real quality,” Allen said. “We just looked closer.”

Change in strategy

So how has the original plan changed since it was proposed in summer 2007?

By one measure, the project has actually been enhanced. Originally planned for natural turf, the new football field will be artificial turf after all.

While the project was tied up in the legal process, the planning committee halted its work. But by the time the settlement was reached, several transitions had occurred in the membership, including the USD 410 superintendent (Huxman for Gordon Mohn), the Tabor College president (Jules Glanzer for Larry Nikkel), the athletic directors at both schools (Robert Rempel for Max Heinrichs at USD 410 and Allen for Don Brubacher at Tabor).

The one ongoing member was Heinrichs.

“Max the whole time wanted an artificial field, but it was almost as if we thought we couldn’t afford it,” Allen said. “So when we came back together we just took the approach that we’re going to get one, and we’re going to do whatever else we need to do because artificial turf has so many advantages.”

To fund the improvement and still stay within the partnership funding parameters, the proposed football locker room was removed from the partnership—about a $1 million component. Tabor agreed to raise funds for that project on its own.

“USD 410 will have a need for locker room space, and of course they’re going to use it on game days,” Allen said. “But their need for it is very minimal.”

Added Heinrichs: “I believe by pulling it out, Tabor can build a more functional locker room for less money than what a public school can do.

“We’re not going to use it except for halftime, which at most would be 10 hours a year,” he added. “By pulling it out, we freed up money to get an artificial turf that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. For USD 410, we could go without the artificial turf, but for Tabor I believe it’s a great recruiter.”

The two-story locker room will be built into the side of the hill on the north end of the present field, and will include a V.I.P. viewing area on the upper level.

To help raise funds for the locker room, a maintenance endowment and related expenditures, Tabor College hosted a kick-off event Monday for its “Expanding Our Influence” campaign for the new athletic complex.

Additional cuts

Beyond the locker room, the planning committee has made additional adjustments to the original facility plan in order to compensate for the dollars lost during the legal process.

The shape of the eight-lane running track will be modified, but the turf field will still be used for both soccer and football games.

Also, the press box will be slightly smaller to eliminate the need for an elevator (a $100,000 savings), and the development of a hard-surface parking lot on the east side of the football field will be delayed.

Attractive features

The reductions are minor compared to the features that remain. Among them: goal posts that easily can be adjusted to accommodate college and high school heights and widths; a new scoreboard and public address system; an attractive concession and restroom facility; and elevated seating for around 3,000 fans—including a designated area near the field accessible to people with disabilities.

Heinrichs said although he sees the value of the project for football, it’s the advantage for track and field that he likes most.

Ten designated lanes down the home straightaway will enable high school, middle school and college athletes to practice simultaneously, and the jumping and throwing areas are designed to accommodate wind for any direction.

“We set it up so it will be a great practice facility,” Hein­richs said. “If things come in the way we want them to, we’ll have a track that won’t beat up our athletes and that all of us can practice on at the same time. It’s going to be tremendous.”

Community asset

The changes implemented won’t diminish the functional or visual impact of the project, according to Heinrichs.

“At one point I thought we were going to have to scrap the grand-ness of it when you enter,” he said. “But it’s still going to be a nice-looking stadium when you come in from the west.”

Heinrichs, Allen and Huxman agree the project will be an asset for the entire community—and a testimony to what a small town can accomplish through creative partnerships.

“I think this is a great project because we’re both getting double for what we paid for,” Hein­richs said.

“I believe other communities are going to jump on board because of what we did,” he added. “When you’re a small community, you’ve got to have collaboration and partnership.”

Said Allen: “This project is not just breaking ground legally, but also from a community point of view. It’s pretty tough for a private college to give up some of its land authority.

“But as I’ve observed our interaction, it hasn’t been that tough for us. The reason I think it’s possible is because there’s a lot of trust.”

That trust may be tested when it comes down to working through the nitty-gritty operational details of running the facility day by day; an operations committee has been formed to begin work in that area.

Given their experiences so far, though, both entities are confident the trust will hold.

“The history of cooperation here has just evolved over the years,” Huxman said. “There haven’t been any trust issues in the year and a half I’ve been here.

“Disagreements? Sure. But in terms of everybody looking for the same outcome—that’s never been in question.”

President's Blog: 'Stadium Campaign Kickoff Celebration'

January 27, 2009

Categories: General News

(From The Tabor College President’s Blog)

I have been to many “kickoff” events but this one was for a football and soccer stadium. So calling it a kickoff event is in every way an accurate description.

About 200 people from the Hillsboro community gathered in the Tabor gym for a feast of stadium food (hotdogs, chicken on a stick, nachos, tater tots, pop corn, funnel cakes) and to hear about the Joel Wiens Stadium that will be built. The mood was upbeat. The tone was positive. The smiles and laughter from those attending told the story… they were having an enjoyable time.

It felt like a “I love Tabor” party. Everyone came to hear about the stadium and how they can be involved in making it happen.

Full Blog Post

Historic Obama Inauguration Watched by Students, Faculty and Staff

January 20, 2009

Categories: General News

About 90 students, faculty and staff gathered in the Tabor College Chapel-Auditorium Tuesday to watch a live web videocast of the historic inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States. Tabor College Photo by Grant Overstake.

Tabor Interterm Group Will Help With Disaster Relief Effort in Gulf Region

January 12, 2009

Categories: General News

A 12-member group of Tabor College students, staff, alums, and spouses will roll up their sleeves and help with the ongoing efforts to restore life and property to storm-affected areas on the Gulf during the school’s Disaster Relief and Service Interterm to Louisiana and Mississippi, Jan. 13-31.

The educational goal of the two-week experience is to expose students to the devastating impact of natural disasters and teach them how to respond with Christian compassion as they work alongside survivors of Hurricane Katrina (which killed 1,836 people and caused some $81.2 million in damage in late August, 2005) and more recent hurricanes in the region.

“We want to help people with rebuilding their homes, but we also want to be an encouragement to them, to let them know they are not forgotten, and to share God’s love with them,” said Dr. Karol Hunt, the Interterm group’s leader and instructor. Hunt is a Professor of Physical Education and Chair of the Division of Education, Social Science and Applied Arts at the college.

From Jan. 18-23, the group will be working on relief projects in New Liberia, La., with Mennonite Disaster Service, the disaster-relief agency of Mennonite churches in the United States and Canada. From Jan. 27-30, the group will be working in the Upper 9th Ward in New Orleans with Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.

Students also will interview survivors in the various stages of rebuilding their lives, local relief workers, law enforcement officials and health care providers. Students also will attend culturally-diverse church services, and keep a journal of observations, questions, and insights during the trip.

“I want the students to get beyond their comfort zones and to learn about giving to others and how to serve those who have been through a devastating event. We want to listen to their stories and to hear what they have been through and how they have survived.”

The group will enjoy some recreational time, on the beach of the Gulf Coast and experiencing Bourbon Street and the New Orleans culture, in a manner appropriate to the lifestyle and mission of Tabor College.

Students making the trip are Jessica Burden, (Little Elm, Texas), Julie Huxman, (Hesston, Kan.), Erika Lacy, (St. Francis, Kan.); Ginger Richardson, (Simla, Colo.), and Erin Vance (Concordia, Kan.). Others making the trip include Professor Hunt, Darrel and Geneva (Johnson) Just (g’79), President Emeritus Larry Nikkel (g’64), Shirley (Dick) Jost (g’66), and Don and Betty (Harder) Fruechting (g’74).

Tabor Students Travel to Belize

January 09, 2009

Categories: General News

A dozen Tabor College students will explore Mayan ruins, hike tropical rain forests, and dive one of the largest coral reefs in the world during their Interterm seminar trip to Belize, from Jan. 15-26. The trip will be led by Dr. Karrie Rathbone, Associate Professor of Biology and Chair of the Biology Department.

Located in Central America, Belize (formerly British Honduras) was once part of the Mayan, and very briefly the Spanish Empire. It was affiliated with the British Empire prior to gaining its independence in 1981. It shares a border on the north with Mexico, on the west and south with Guatemala. Along its east coast, the sparkling Caribbean Sea contains the second-longest barrier reef in the world.

Students, who will carry their belongings in backpacks, are being limited to 40 pounds of gear, including snorkel, mask, fins, insect repellant, and sunscreen.

In addition to diving the coral reef, students will study Belize culture and history; observe rain forest and marine biodiversity; learn and identify the most common animals and plants of the ecosystems; practice the processes of scientific inquiry; communicate ideas orally and through writing composition; and discuss Christian stewardship the integration of faith and learning.

Students making the trip include: Scott Adrian, Wichita, Kan.; Andrea Batista, Hagerman, N.M.; Stephanie Johnson, Bingham Lake, Minn.; Tasia Johnson; Dallas, Texas; Bret Jost, Henderson, Neb.; Jessica Kelly, Hillsboro, Kan.; Carly Kroeker, Henderson, Neb.; Corina Neufeld, Denver, Colo.; Audrey Schellenberg, Wichita, Kan.; Kaleb Sullivan, Riley, Kan.; Austin Wahl, Hesston, Kan.; Briana Willems, Sedgwick, Kan.; along with Karrie Rathbone, and Tabor Communications photographer, Vance Frick.

Follow Tabor Interterm Trips Through Blogs!

January 08, 2009

Categories: General News

Follow the footsteps of Tabor College students and faculty members as they tour Southeast Asia, Europe and the Holy Land during this January Interterm.

Be sure to subscribe to receive regular blog updates via email or RSS reader.

Southeast Asia Seminar Blog

A 10-member entourage from Tabor College will tour the Southeast Asian countries of Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore during the January Interterm, from Jan. 9-29, led by Professor Emeritus Frank Brenneman and Assistant Professor of Family Studies Jeanelle Herrel.

Read the Southeast Asia Seminar Blog

European Seminar Blog

Thirty-three Tabor College students will travel to six European countries during the January Interterm, from Jan. 9- 29, led by Dr. Richard Kyle, Professor of History and Religious Studies, who will be guiding his 24th tour.

The group will tour the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and Vatican City, and visit cultural, religious, and historical locations in London, Paris, Zürich, Munich, Venice, and Rome.

Read the European Seminar Blog

Jerusalem Seminar Blog

A 27-member group of Tabor College students, Bethel College students and others will be visiting the land of Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, the disciples, and early Christians, on an educational tour of the Holy Land, Jan. 5 to 25, 2009.

Based in Jerusalem for most of the trip, the group will travel to Mt. Nebo, where Moses gazed into the Promised Land, and other sites in Jordan, including ancient and dramatic Petra. Also on the travel itinerary are Bethlehem, Hebron, Joppa, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, and Dan.

The group will be led by Tabor Bible Professor Doug Miller.

Read the Jerusalem Seminar Blog

Awesome Faculty Member Recognized by President Glanzer

January 08, 2009

Categories: General News

From the President’s Blog

You have heard me talk about but our awesome students. Our faculty are just as world class. As one example… Professor Shin-Hee Chin’s art work (Choon San) Spring Mountain was accepted for the Chinese Quilt National -09 Exhibit and will be on display in the Cultural Arts Center from May 23 through September 7, 2009.

Read More

Top-Ranked Tabor Men Host Hot-Shooting University of Saint Mary Thursday

January 06, 2009

Categories: General News

The Tabor College men’s basketball team, now in a three-way tie for first place in the hyper-competitive Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, must stop one of the hottest shooting guards in the nation when the Bluejays host the visiting Spires from the University of Saint Mary at 8 p.m. Thursday.

The Tabor men’s team, (3-1 in the KCAC and 10-4 overall) comes into the game tied for first place with McPherson College and Sterling College. The University of Saint Mary (2-2, 7-7) is one of four teams tied for second in the conference standings.

To stay atop the conference standings, however, the Bluejays will need to stop Carvelle Taylor, whose 24.3 points per game average leads the KCAC and ranks second in the nation in NAIA Division II. The 6-1 transfer from Central Missouri State University is the fourth-leading three-point shooter in the nation.

“Carville Taylor is very smooth and can score from anywhere,” said Tabor Head Coach Micah Ratzlaff. “When he touches the ball, it does not leave his hands unless it is going towards the rim.”

Taylor earned KCAC Player of the Week honors in December after scoring 59 points in two games (24 points in a home victory over McPherson College, and 34 points in a loss at Southwestern College).

Still, no matter how prolific Taylor has proven himself to be, Coach Ratzlaff says it would be a costly mistake for his players to consider Saint Mary a “One Man Team.”

“Saint Mary is a very dangerous team overall, with a lot of talented new transfer players,” Ratzlaff said. “They are very strong and athletic under the basket, and all of their guards can really shoot the ball.

“It will be a very good match-up and we will be ready for the challenge.”

“Challenging” is the operative word for the entire KCAC men’s bracket so far this season, where seven teams are separated by just one game in the standings.

“This conference across the board is as good as I have seen it.” Ratzlaff said. “A couple of our teams have been successful against NCAA II and almost all of our teams have at least one win over NAIA Division 1 teams. I believe the credit goes to the coaches. I believe we are recruiting harder and we are tired of not advancing outside of the conference in post-season tournament play.”

While Coach Ratzlaff is happy to be one of three teams tied for first place, at 3-1, he also knows there will be a lot of competitive basketball played between now and the KCAC Tournament, to be played Feb. 23 to March 2, at Tabor College.

“Honestly being in a three-way tie for first doesn’t mean a whole lot right now because there are so many conference games left,” Ratzlaff said. “One thing I think it does do, is that it motivates the players a little more to work hard.”

The Tabor College women (1-3 KCAC, 3-10 overall) will host Saint Mary (2-2, 8-5) at 6 p.m. Both Tabor games will be broadcast live on Stretch Internet, the Bluejays Radio Network.

Reptiles Make Good Friends Student Finds

January 05, 2009

Categories: General News

(From the Hillsboro Free Press)

Surrounded by reptiles and loving every minute of it, Tasia Johnson is the caretaker of the animals living in the atrium of the science building at Tabor College.

Johnson, a junior from New Orleans majoring in biology, has been working as caretaker in the Solomon L. Loewen Natural Science Center since January 2008. She got the job when one of the science professors, Jeffrey Henderson, mentioned to another science prof, Karrie Rathbone, that Johnson could do it as a work study. Before then, Johnson just went in and did the job anyway.

Full Story

Tabor College Students to Tour Holy Land

January 02, 2009

Categories: General News

A 27-member group of Tabor College students, Bethel College students and others will be visiting the land of Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, the disciples, and early Christians, on an educational tour of the Holy Land, Jan. 5 to 25, 2009.

“I am extremely excited about visiting these wonderful places again,” said Tabor Bible professor Douglas Miller, who helped lead a similar trip in January 2007.

Miller will co-lead the tour with Bethel College professor Patricia Shelly, a licensed guide with over 25 years of experience leading tours and living in the Holy Land.

Based in Jerusalem for most of the trip, the group will travel to Mt. Nebo, where Moses gazed into the Promised Land, and other sites in Jordan, including ancient and dramatic Petra. Also on the travel itinerary are Bethlehem, Hebron, Joppa, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, and Dan.

According to Miller, the purpose of the three-week trip is to give participants an opportunity to understand the Bible in its context; learn about the three major religions of the area (Judaism, Islam, Eastern Christianity); gain a better understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and spend special time in worship, reflection, and prayer.

“We will have personal contact and conversation with a variety of local people,” added Miller who particularly noted Palestinian Christians as a neglected minority.

In addition to 15 persons going from Bethel, the following 12 from Tabor are scheduled to make the trip.

Ben Faul (sophomore, Martin, N.D.); Ben Heyen (freshman, Hillsboro, Kan.); Janae Rempel (junior, Meade, Kan.); Kayla Vix (junior, Maize, Kan.); Judy Harder, Associate Professor of Communications and Drama, and her husband, Keith; Myron and LaVon Vetter (Onida, S.D.); Richard and LuWanda Schroeder (Moundridge, Kan.); and Professor Miller and his wife, Holly Swartzendruber, Assistant Professor of Vocal Music.

Tour members will be journaling their thoughts on the journey on the Jerusalem Seminar Blog, at

Previous Next