Nabor House Fraternity welcomed back its alumni and supporters last weekend for a dedication of their new fraternity house on the University of Illinois campus.
The construction project was funded by Nabor House alumni and donors, and took place in a span of less than five months on the corner of Lincoln and Iowa streets, in Urbana.
"I am amazed at the level of support and interest in making this happen," says Bob Stewart '92, a Yorkville farmer and president of the Nabor House Alumni Board. "We really didn't start the fundraising until a little over a year ago. Some of it was a leap of faith: people said to start down the path and the money will come, and that's exactly what happened."
The span from the start of fundraising until house occupancy was just 15 months.
During the summer of 2011, following years of planning, the Nabor House Alumni Board took their leap of faith and slated a new house to be built during the summer break of 2012. They also began fundraising at that time. Among many generous donors was 1959 graduate Jerry Stoller, of Houston, who went on to found Stoller USA, a crop nutrient supplier based in Texas. Stoller pledged the leadership gift of $300,000, which will be recognized through the Stoller Dining Hall in the new Nabor House.
Alumni Allan Mueller '45 (of Urbana), Charles Lewis '54 (of Mendota), and Matthew Kellogg '98 (of Yorkville) also provided lead donations of at least $100,000.
The rest of the funding for the $2 million project came from alumni scattered throughout Illinois, the greater Midwest, and across the country – many of whom work either in production agriculture or in some facet of the agriculture industry. Nabor House was "built with bushels," as many farmer alumni donated harvested grain to help fund the project.
Just days after students left campus last May, the old Nabor House was demolished and removed, and digging for the new foundation began. The new house was designed by a local architect and built by Homeway Homes, of Deer Creek, then delivered to the site in 13 factory-constructed "mods." Once on site, the mods were set in place, and crews began the work of wiring them together, installing remaining trim and flooring, and hooking up heating and cooling systems.
Nabor House was founded to give young men with similar rural backgrounds an economical place to live while fostering a sense of community, leadership and cooperation. When the house was founded in 1939, it was one of the lowest-cost places to live on campus and remains so today, due both alumni generosity and to members' dedication to cooperate in all areas, including cooking and cleaning.
Nabor House originally purchased the property and former house at 1002 South Lincoln Avenue in the summer of 1965 for $125,000.