Hesston College receives grant for renovation project

This artist's rendering (The Troyer Group, Mishawaka, Ind.) gives a glimpse of changes coming to Hesston College's north campus entry.

Hesston College has been selected as a recipient of a $500,000 grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation in Tulsa, Okla., for the impending construction of a new campus entrance and renovation of the Northlawn performing arts building.

The total cost of the project is $3.8 million. Large lead gift commitments totaling $1.52 million were made to the college by Excel Industries, Inc. (Hesston, Kan.) and Jayco, Inc. (Middlebury, Ind.), as well as other charitable donors, which enabled college administrators to make the grant proposal to the Mabee Foundation. With the grant and another $580,000 in donor commitments, Hesston College has about $1.2 million left to raise by its December 2014 deadline in order to begin renovation work in late 2014.

Hesston College President Dr. Howard Keim and Vice President of Advancement Yvonne Sieber made the grant proposal on Nov. 5 along with Excel Industries Vice President Bob Mullet.

“Mabee received a large number of grant proposals this year and we are pleased that they chose Hesston College as one of the grant recipients,” said Keim.

The Mabee Foundation’s purposes are to aid Christian religious organizations, charitable organizations, institutions of higher learning, hospitals and other organizations of a general charitable nature.

Original construction of Northlawn, home to the college’s music and theatre programs, was completed in 1971, and is the only building on campus to not have received renovations or new construction in 31 years. Updates will include new windows, HVAC system and other energy saving measures; acoustical work to isolate and calibrate sound; creation of dedicated spaces for instrument storage, theatre, Campus Worship, choirs and Concert Band; an additional classroom and student gathering spaces. The college hopes renovations will be completed in August 2015 in time for the 2015-16 academic year.

The new campus entrance will be constructed on the north end of campus next to Northlawn. The project will increase visibility to the campus from the main road running past campus, improve aesthetics and add additional parking and a drop-off area to better serve visitors.

The college has assembled a steering committee of alumni and donors who will help with planning and fundraising for the project. Steering committee members are Cindy Hawkins, chair, (Middlebury, Ind.), Kere Frey (Chicago), Jon Helmuth (Cassopolis, Mich.), Alicia and Zach Hurst (Lancaster, Pa.), Ken Kabira (Naperville, Ill.), Dorel and Phyllis Neufeld (Halstead, Kan.), Seth and Abby Troyer (Wakarusa, Ind.), Sharon and Carl Weaver (Halstead, Kan.), Peter and Rheta Mae Wiebe (Glendale, Ariz.), Anita Yoder (Goshen, Ind.) and Brent and Rachel Yoder (Hesston, Kan.) and college representatives Sieber, Tonya Detweiler and Ken Rodgers.

The Northlawn and Campus Entry campaign