Trustees authorize continued planning for residence hall

The Northwestern College Board of Trustees voted to continue with planning for a proposed new residence hall at its spring meeting, April 7–8.

Since last fall’s board meeting, a committee of faculty, staff and students has been meeting with architects from Cannon Moss Brygger and Associates in Sioux City to develop plans for a residence hall that could replace Heemstra and West halls. The potential facility is envisioned to have a capacity of 206 students but with two distinct living areas to retain the sense of close community offered by Northwestern’s current residence life program.

The board’s decision authorizes moving ahead with design development and construction documents as well as strategies for funding the residence hall, which could be built by the fall of 2010. A final decision on whether or not to build the hall is expected to be made by the board at its October 2008 meeting.

This was the first Board of Trustees meeting under the leadership of President Greg Christy, and he presented a report on his first 90 days in office, including updates on enrollment and the budget. The meeting began with the trustees telling stories about their connections to Northwestern College and why they continue to be involved.

“It was inspiring to hear their passion for our distinctive mission as a Christian liberal arts college,” says Christy. “I was really impressed by their commitment.”

The board meeting included a number of opportunities for trustees to interact with students, including a Monday evening session in which board members heard from Jose Sanchez-Perry and Davina Ramasamy. Sanchez-Perry is a freshman from Orange City who told about his prison ministry work on a Spring Service Project in Lindale, Texas. Ramasamy, a sophomore from the island of Mauritius, told about how she has grown during her time at Northwestern.

The board recognized the service of five retiring members: Gary Bomgaars of Denver; the Rev. Floyd Brown of Sioux City; John Den Hartog Sr. of Hospers, Iowa; Hank Jungling of Aplington, Iowa; and Jim Koerselman of Boyden, Iowa. Bomgaars, Brown and Jungling all completed eight years of service. Den Hartog completed 16 years, and Koerselman served for 20. “We are losing some experienced and committed board members,” says Christy. “I deeply appreciate the service each has contributed to the college.”

At the final plenary session, one board member made an unexpected announcement of a gift toward student scholarships for next year. Several others took his challenge, with a total of $60,000 in new funds committed.