Dordt College News

Classroom building addition under construction

December 12, 2008

Classroom ConstructionConstruction of a $4.5 million addition to the classroom building is currently underway at Dordt College. Over $2 million in leadership gifts have already been committed to this upgrade and expansion, with completion expected by the beginning of the 2009-2010 academic year.

The new academic space will provide student teachers in the education program with the use of a smart technology classroom, a science methods classroom, and three new model classrooms. Ten education faculty offices, informal learning areas, an education faculty conference room, and an educational archives room are also being added.

The art department will gain additional space for teaching sculpture, painting, and print-making. Also included in the remodeled space are an art gallery and a kiln room.

Expanded digital media computer labs, computer technology classroom space, a lobby and entry area, an additional staircase, and new restroom facilities are also in the building plans.

Upon completion, the new facility will be called the Douglas and Henrietta (Miedema) Ribbens Academic Complex, honoring two early contributors to the success of Dordt College.

Dr. Douglas Ribbens was the college’s first professor of education and served Dordt College for 37 years as a professor, registrar, administrator, and director of the library. Ribbens has been described as the practical realist who balanced President B.J. Haan’s passionate creativity, providing the teamwork that moved the college forward. A former principal, he brought administrative skills to the fledgling institution, and advocated for the junior college to become an accredited four-year institution.

Henrietta (Miedema) Ribbens played a key support role at the college from 1957 until retirement in 1992. Miedema began as the lone college secretary in 1957, but over the years combined secretarial duties with keeping the books, taking care of student accounts, and essentially becoming assistant registrar during the years that Douglas Ribbens served dual roles as registrar and academic dean.

Dordt College opened its doors to students in 1955. The original 8,000 square feet building was expanded with a southeast wing in 1957 (science and faculty rooms, gymnasium, and a basement kitchen and commons). In 1959, a northwest wing (library) and an addition to the southeast wing (a theater, two classrooms and storage) were constructed. In 1971 the building expanded north with a Classroom Complex; in 1985 a Computer Center was added to the east; and in 1996 a Faculty Office Complex was added to the west of the Classroom Complex.

The 1959 library addition has been removed to make way for the new two story addition. During this interim year, art classes have been moved to other temporary locations. The campus which began as one four-room building situated on 14 acres has now grown to 115 acres with 23 buildings.

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