PRC Seminary Addition Update – March 2019

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It was a good week of spring weather in West Michigan and more good progress was made on the archive/office addition at the PRC Seminary.

The Bosveld “team” of John Hop was there to carry on the work, inside and out. It started with some wrapping of the outside roof area with more board and Tyvec, in part because we were supposed to have a rainy day Wednesday/Thursday. But it stayed nice and that work was completed.

Then “JH” spent some time building a special platform and stairs to enter the addition through one of the windows, since this is the best entrance into it right now. When the semester is done, the wall now separating the addition from the library will be torn now and an opening made (You will see that wall in the photos below). But for now, the window is the door. Make sense? Just watch your head going in! 🙂

Part of the work involved demolition of the old roof overhang, because what was outside is now inside. Make sense? Perhaps a few pics will help here too. And now you can see what wall has to come down. Yes, that brick one, so that a temporary stud wall can be made for the south side of that first office. Which stud wall will eventually come down too, when that temporary office is no longer needed. Then the “office” will become part of the library. Or maybe the archives. I know, it’s getting complicated, so let’s not worry about that right now.

Today (Friday) a Kleyn electrician came to put in some temporary power and some lights. And now you get your first look at the new archive room! It’s bare! But that’s ok; it will fill up in time. Wait until you see the cool shelving system we hope to install in it. I’m quite excited. (But that’s a secret at this point. Shhhh.)

And last, but not least, a little work was done this week on the library renovation part of this project. Two rows of sample sound-deadening ceiling tiles were put in by “JH.” so that we can begin to get a feel for how they look and how they sound. That is, hopefully, what sound we don’t hear. Make sense? Good!

Stay tuned for the next installment of PRC SAAU (seminary archive addition updates)!

Published in: on March 29, 2019 at 10:09 PM  Leave a Comment  

Friday Recap of Seminary Week (and a Little Library Fun Too)

It was an exciting week at the PRC Seminary, especially weather-wise (no major storms this week!) and new addition-wise (what progress this week!).

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On the weather front, we started with a few inches of snow Sunday night and Monday morning, and it was cold – due in part to clear skies and a February “super moon.” But then we had some glorious sunny weather and two beautiful sunrises in a row.

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Today too (Friday) was a gorgeous day, with temperatures in the low 40s (F). Which leads us into the next subject – the new addition being constructed. When we left off last time, we were in the throes of winter storms and the work had slowed down. But the hardy handymen hung in there and finished their work, starting with the “Bouwkamp brickies.”

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Yesterday they completed their brick-laying on the north wall, and today they returned to take down the scaffolding and clean up (“brickies” are not as bad as plumbers, but they’re still messy!). It’s a great-looking masonry job, don’t you think?

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But now that last picture gives away what else happened this week – yes, indeed, the trusses for the “second” roof went up (remember the first roof that went over the new archive room and future workroom consisted of concrete planks and a rubber seal – like a “pool” to collect any water this second roof may let through)!

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Monday morning the trusses were delivered, and yesterday and today the Bosveld crew went to work setting them and then the base boards of the roof, including plastic and a bit of tar paper. The weather was good and the gang amazingly efficient.

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In no time it all, it seemed, the roof was on, and a new look emerged inside. Exciting! And just in time for our latest challenge – another winter storm forecast for Sunday and Monday, with high winds part of the picture. We shall see if the “BBs” (Bosveld builders) put it all together firmly. 🙂 (I have utmost confidence.)

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Speaking of challenges, we had one of another kind this week. There can be a “down side” to all the nice sunshine and fairer temps this time of year, especially for flat roofs after snow and ice have built up. Thursday at noon a small gusher erupted right over Sem. Matt K’s study carrel, barely missing his books and papers. So a certain fellow took time after lunch to climb up on the roof and get rid of the snow and ice so as to cut off the source of said dripping. It was over the library, after all, so I suppose the librarian should tend to it. 🙂

And the good news is that the gusher stopped shortly thereafter, a fan set overnight dried up the wet carpeting, and Sem. Kortus returned to his own carrel today. O, and the roofing repair company came out today to find and fix the leaks! Thankful we are for all the folks in construction, new and old.

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Inside the seminary, we had another blessed week of instruction, learning, devotions, and fellowship. Sem. Josiah T. led us in devotions this week, and took us through Genesis 1. The singing was good, which led me to make this video – something about a group of men singing acappella.

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Finally, in a non-seminary-related matter but still connected to books and libraries, a friend sent me this link today to a very cool “little free library” in the beautiful town of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

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Here’s the first part of the story; read the rest here. And thanks, Matt M. for passing this on. He knows these stories really get me excited!

In the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, known to many as a sleepy lakefront resort town, a woman named Sharalee Armitage Howard has turned a dying 110-year-old black cottonwood tree into a magical library.

Stone steps lead up the sloped front yard to what remains of the tree. The 10-foot-tall trunk has a shingled roof that extends a little over the edges. A lantern-style lamp lights a row of tiny faux wooden books that make up the library’s decorative dentil molding. The real books, however, are visible through a vintage window-turned-door. The door itself features hardware that looks like it would have been at home in Middle Earth.

Have a great weekend, wherever you are! And remember to take time to read. 🙂

Of Ice Storms, Michigan Skiing, and Things Bookish

While this Friday quickly slips away, we can still get in a “Friday Fun” post, featuring things related to this week’s ice storms in West Michigan, some old skiing pictures in our great state (thanks to MLive), and some great book items from Book Patrol.

First, a few pictures of the fruits of the ice storms that hit us Wednesday and Thursday mornings of this week. Last week the Lord’s snow left a trail of beauty; this week it was His ice. Here are a few pictures from around the seminary property.

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The second item is also winter related. Today MLive news featured some vintage skiing pictures taken in various parts of our state, mostly in the north country, as you might guess. I love these old photos and give a few here. Find more at this news link.

And finally, Book Patrol has been having some great book-related posts lately, including this neat one featuring some new scroll books being published. Check these out at this link (here’s an example):

Prof. R. Cammenga Interviewed TODAY on “Saved by Grace” Book (UPDATE: Podcast Now Available!)

The Reformed Free Publishing Association is sponsoring and promoting this event today:

TODAY from 4-6pm EST,  Prof. Cammenga will be interviewed by Chris Arnzen on his radio program Iron Sharpens Iron.

The subject will be the book, Saved by Grace: A Study of the Five Points of Calvinism, that he co-authored with Rev. Ron Hanko.

Visit www.ironsharpensironradio.com and click on the livestream box to tune in and listen from any device. The program can also be listened to by phone at (563)999-9206; press #3 for Christian Radio when prompted.

Be sure to tune in today!

The sponsorship and promotion includes a free copy of the book to those who call in. We hope you take the time to listen and participate if you can.

And let us pray that the witness of the Reformed faith (biblical Calvinism!) for the glory of the God of sovereign, particular grace is advanced through this means!

*UPDATE: The podcast of yesterday’s interview with Prof. Cammenga is now available. You may find the audio file here.

Another Michigan Winter Wonderland (Designed and Directed by Our Great God)

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It has been a wintry, blustery, snowy, and icy week here in West Michigan. From Monday through Thursday we were under a winter storm warning, with steadily plummeting temperatures and heavy, driving snow – first from the east and then from the west, as a northern “polar vortex” enveloped us and triggered our lake-effect “snow machine.

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Drift out the back door of seminary.

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Caps on the phone and power boxes on the side of seminary.

We estimate we had close to if not over two feet of snow (yes, that’s 24 inches!) – and that doesn’t include the drifts. You will see a series of pictures I took out the front door this week, as the snow accumulated. I trust you will see the progression. 🙂

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Due to the snow and icy roads, as well as the below-zero temperatures (-15 F plus windchill!) our faculty cancelled two days of classes (Wednesday and Thursday). Which means we squeezed in two days – Tuesday and today (Friday). For those who may not remember this, Mondays are reserved for practice preaching and catechism instruction by our professors and students.

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Even the wild turkeys were thrown off on Wednesday, as the driving snow and bitter cold led them to roost in the trees by four in the afternoon already! Why they think going higher in a tree on a day like that is going to be warmer is beyond me. The Eskimos have it right: bury yourself in it to find shelter and warmth.

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Obviously, no work could be done on the seminary addition (archives and offices).

20190130_135751Personally, I think the snow adds to the cozy decor of this future office. 🙂

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But is often the case, after a few wild days, the skies clear and the sun comes out, and God’s handiwork in this season of the year stands out with a brilliant glory.

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A beautiful Thursday morning greeted us, complete with a “sun dog” (formed by ice crystals in the air as the sun passes through them to create a unique rainbow).

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A few images of our backyard and deck.

We know the seasons and these storms are prepared and directed by our Lord’s sovereign providence, and when you see the design of the snow mounds and drifts after such events, you stand in awe of the God who alone can design and create such wintry wonders. He is the God of infinite greatness and glory, and we are so small, so helpless before His power (and cold!), and yet so dependent on that power. He humbles us, teaching us to trust Him as our Father and live out of His almighty hand and merciful heart.

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And in the midst of cold and snow, He gives us seasons of good food and warm fellowship, as we had at our special Friday lunch today. Among faculty, students, staff, and friends, Rev. Daniel and Sharon Kleyn joined us to talk about their life and work in the Philippines, especially the preparations being made for their own seminary. It was a blessed time.

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And some of the little lambs of our seminary family made their own fun and friendship.

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Published in: on February 1, 2019 at 9:59 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Opening Prayer at the Synod of Dordt (Plus, a Hymn and a Psalm by a Dutch Men’s Choir)

Opnamedatum: 13-11-2012The Fall issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal contains a new translation (the first known complete one) of the prayer offered at the opening session of the great Synod of Dordt on Nov.13, 1618. The prayer was made by local pastor Balthasar Lydius, and the translation is a combined labor of Prof. D. Kuiper (PRC Seminary) and Dr. H. D. Schuringa (former CRC minister and seminary professor at Calvin and Westminster, CA).

Prof. Kuiper gives this historical introduction to the prayer and the nature of the translation:

Balthasar Lydius was a Reformed minister in Dordrecht from 1602-1629, and was delegated by the particular Synod of South Holland to attend the national Synod of Dordt. As the local pastor, two honors fell to him on November 13, 1618: that of preaching a Dutch sermon in the morning before the synod opened, and that of opening the first session of the synod with prayer. He prayed in Latin, in which language all of the business of the Synod was conducted until the foreign delegates were dismissed. Two partial English translations of the prayer have been available for centuries, one of which is based on the memory of some in the audience.  What follows is a new and complete translation, based on the Dutch translation of the prayer in the Acts of the Synod of Dordt. After the translation the reader will find the Dutch original.

The prayer is ornate. It breathes the language of Scripture. Its long sentences include many subordinate phrases and clauses. As is the Dutch custom, in these long sentences the subject is near the beginning and the verb at the end. This translation divides the long sentences into shorter ones so that the English reader today can better understand the prayer, Biblical citations and allusions are footnoted.

For our purposes tonight, we quote the first part of the prayer, encouraging you to read the rest at the link provided above to the PRT Journal. The prayer will give you a new appreciation for the times in which Dordt met, the seriousness of the issues it faced, and the humble dependency on their sovereign Lord the godly men at the synod showed . In addition, the prayer will feed your soul and teach us how to pray – for the present church and for the state under which we now live.

*(Note: In this post I have removed the footnotes, including those added by Dr. Schuringa showing the thoroughly biblical language of Lydius’ prayer. By all means pay attention to these in the original article as published in the Journal.)

Almighty, eternal God, Fountain of all wisdom, goodness and mercy, compassionate Father in Christ! We pray that Thou wilt open our lips so that our mouth may declare Thy praise.

We are unworthy of all Thy mercies which Thou hast bountifully bestowed upon the work and workmanship of Thy hands. Not only hast Thou created us according to Thy image, but also, when we through sin had become by nature the children of wrath, Thou didst recreate us according to Thy image. Since we already are indebted
to Thee because Thou hast created us, how much more do we owe because Thou hast also freely redeemed us?

It is great and marvelous that man was made in Thy image. How much greater it is that He who thought it not robbery to be equal with God made Himself of no reputation, took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in our likeness, who of God was made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption!

Also with these benefits Thou wast not satisfied. We were a people dwelling in the darkness and shadow of death, without hope of salvation, cast off in the unworthiness of our souls, for whom an unknown treasure would be of no use. But Thou hast enlightened us by the revelation of the Sun of righteousness and truth! Without this, we would have perished everlastingly in these errors, not knowing what way we must walk.

The enemy of mankind sowed tares among the wheat while men slept. This darkness gradually gained the upper hand. Yet through the light of the Reformation Thou hast delivered us from a greater darkness than that of Egypt. In these places Thou hast planted Thy vine, whose shadow has covered the mountains and whose branches are the cedars of God.

This prayer was also published in the Nov.1, 2018 issue of the Standard Bearer, the first of two special issues planned for the 400th anniversary of the Synod of Dordt (the second one will appear May 1, 2019, D.V.). These issues will be available online approximately six months after publication.

To this prayer we also add this beautiful and appropriate arrangement of the hymn “Thanks Be to God” sung in Dutch by “Urker Mannenkoor,” a men’s choir from the Netherlands.

And if you enjoyed that one, you will also love this version of Psalm 42 (by combined men’s and women’s choirs):

Announcing the New PRC Seminary Website

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Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary

Est. 1925

With great excitement (and a little relief!) and with deep gratitude to one of our pre-seminary students – Doner Bartolon – we can announce officially that the new PRC Seminary website is launched and live!

In reality, we did so a few days ago already, but had some more content to add/fix and some tweaks to make. And there is more to come, but we felt confident that the site was good to go now and that it was worthy to make public.

The design is simple yet professional, and the site easy to navigate. You will see that the homepage gives you a basic slide show and then introductory content on the seminary, including the latest events and blog post (Yes, the new site has its own blog!).

On the homepage are also all the main tabs:

Yes, Doner, of Mexican descent, had to be sure to add the Spanish page, which is good and we hope useful to those Spanish-speaking men interested in our theological teaching and ministerial training.

The “About Us” tab features three sections – the faculty, the facilities and our staff. Under “Resources” you will find the online library catalog, our PR Theological Journal (with the brand new issue – Fall 2018 – featured! [as well as all 102 past issues with an Index]), our bookstore, online classes available, and the writings and speeches given by our professors. This will also be an ever-growing collection of items. “Admissions” focuses on the requirements for applying for and entering our seminary, and includes our newly revised catalog (Fall 2018).

The next tab, “Seminary Activities,” includes a “News” section and an “Events” section. You will want to visit those often – and, in fact, at the bottom of any page on the website you will find a signup box to receive updates to the site. Be sure to add your email address to the already growing list! On this page you will also find our seminary calendar, where both the daily activities as well as the special activities of the seminary are noted.

Next are the “Contact” and “Blog” tabs, where you will find contact information (seminary phone numbers and info@prcts.org) and our new blog feature. A few posts have been made, but here too, look for more to come – from our faculty and registrar, as well as from our secretary and students.

We hope you bookmark this site, and use it to stay in close touch with the life and labors of our precious seminary

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I wish to call special attention to the upcoming Interim course, scheduled from Jan.4 – Jan.15. Prof. B. Gritters, by rotation, will be teaching his special course on “Heidelberg Catechism Preaching.” In addition to an open invitation to those in the area to attend, especially our ministers, we will be live-streaming the course through our YouTube channel.

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The other event to pay attention to is our 2019 Dordt400 Conference, set for April 25-27 at Trinity PRC in Hudsonville, MI. You will know by now, we trust, that there is a special website devoted to this, and we hope that you are making plans to attend all or most of this significant event.

Thanks for your attention – now go check out the website!

Published in: on December 27, 2018 at 10:05 PM  Leave a Comment  

The End of Another Seminary Semester (Dec. 2018), a New PRT Journal Issue, and Updated Addition Work Pics!

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(Today was the official beginning of the winter season (Dec.21), though it is not quite this wintery looking currently. This was taken during last year’s winter.)

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Today marked the last official day of the first semester at the PRC Seminary. It was exam week, and while no exams were actually held today (Friday), students had papers to finish and turn in today. And thus, another semester comes to a close.

Although, it may be noted that one specially blessed student still has a Hebrew grammar exam to take Christmas Eve morning. It seems a certain registrar forgot to put that on the schedule (which, in his [own flimsy] defense, was full at the time! [as if he couldn’t have moved things around if he had thought of it!]), and a certain Hebrew professor is now in Singapore, far from the very Singaporean student he taught! So now said registrar must administer the exam to the student Monday morning (as if the latter deserves to be “punished” for the miscue of the former!). No worries, as we say, all are happy and content. Or should we say, will be happy and content Monday around 11 AM. 🙂

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The end of another semester is always a bit sobering. We stand amazed at how quickly 15 weeks of classes go by. And yet there was marvelous Reformed instruction given again by the faculty, and growth in grace and knowledge and gifts on the part of the students. Our two seniors (Jacob M. and Matt K.) were mostly absent from us (and yet they mysteriously seemed to appear in time for our “Friday brat/burger” lunch), busily engaged in the work of their internships, getting a taste of the “real” life and labors of a church pastor. It was obvious they loved the experience and are being made ready for the grand goal. Soon they will return for their final semester (where did those four years go?!). Humbling, all of it.

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Our new professor (D. Kuiper) is working quickly toward the goal of his advanced learning too, starting to write his main thesis for his ThM degree through Calvin Seminary. Next fall, Lord willing, he will begin teaching some of his courses.

sem-secr-sharonk-fall-2018-2.jpgA new secretary moved in mid-semester (Sharon K.), to take the place of our beloved Mrs. J. Doezema, who has only “retired” to less work (“just” the manifold denominational labors she is involved with, and the Standard Bearer). But grace was given to both ladies to take up and to carry on, and the transition has been as smooth as it could be. We praise God.

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We were also able to produce our 103rd PR Theological Journal – Volume 52, No.1 (Fall 2018). As you will see from the cover, it is  another fine blend of Reformed scholarship and practical theology, with articles and book reviews to benefit preachers, teachers, students, and laymen. The pdf may be found here; the print copies came in today and will be mailed out or delivered next week. If you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive the PRTJ (free!), contact the seminary at 616-531-1490 or seminarysecretary@prca.org.

God is good. His grace is abundant, and therefore amazing. We see His hand guiding us for good in all things, and we give humble thanks to Him for another semester. Remember us in prayer, even as we remember you.

I include here a few other pictures taken throughout the semester, with a few notes for each. Enjoy!

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We are blessed by many visitors during the semester, sometimes from faraway places, such as Singapore.

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Our final Friday lunch was delicious burgers from Sheldon Meats (Tim B., who keeps us well supplied – thank you, Tim and Kate!)

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Once again, I was personally blessed by the help of Kevin R. and Elijah R. in the library.

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Once again the sem (and pre-sem) student ping-pong team showed itself highly competitive, winning 50% of its games.

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And in the animal realm, a red fox made a rare appearance one night when our janitor was here. He was able to capture a quick shot of it for all of us to enjoy.

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Finally, we note that, while Pres. D. Trump is having trouble getting his border wall built, the new seminary addition’s walls made good progress this week, thanks to some mild weather and Bouwkamp Masonry. The new archives and offices are taking shape!

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Merry Christmas from all of us at the seminary! May the joy and peace of our sovereign Savior be yours in this season of the year.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

 

Latest Seminary Addition Work, Nov.27-Dec.4, 2018

Since last Tuesday’s report (Nov.26) much work has been done on the PRC seminary addition (new archives room and offices).

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After the footings and walls were poured and had time to cure, they were back-filled and then sand hauled in for the base to the floor.

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Then special footings were also poured in the floor for the interior walls, before the main floor was poured.

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The Bouwkamp masons followed this work and laid a single course of block on the newly poured wall, also in preparation for the pouring of the floor.

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Yesterday (Monday) being the mildest day of the work-week, the floor was poured! A larger crew of Bosveld workers participated and a critical part of the building was done!

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Time to smooth it out with power trowel and hand trowels – the finishing touches by Nate P. and Matt VO.

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The new concrete floor had to have blankets to keep it warm and help it cure in the Michigan cold!

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Today, Bosveld and Kuiper Excavating were back to work on the new fire lane and construction drive. A lot of dirt was moved, and recycled, crushed concrete was put down as a base.

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The new “road” to the west of the project will assist all the future construction and serve as a fire lane required by the city of Wyoming.

Again, thanks for the great work, men – and lady! (Did you spot the one gal in the pictures? Yes, Holly H. was “manning” the cement hose – not an easy task!

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And just for fun, Matt VO replaced one of the interiors doors that goes away with a foam one – with a little happy face on the inside. 🙂

 

 

Published in: on December 4, 2018 at 10:59 PM  Leave a Comment  

More Progress on the Seminary Addition – Nov.26, 2018

Last week we reported on the initial groundbreaking and excavating of the new PRC Seminary addition (off the library to the north) that will contain the new PRC archives and two professor offices (initially).

Since then, the footings were put in by Matt Van Overloop and Nate Price of Bosveld Builders and the concrete poured by Hunderman. That took place last Wednesday already (Nov.21), the day after the excavating.

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Prof. B. Gritters talking to Nate P. and Matt VO.

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Pouring concrete from Hunderman.

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The footings all poured and covered for their chilly night.

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Yes, this is the scene from the front of seminary today, Nov.26! Looks like January!

Today, in spite of a major snow storm and cold (6-8 inches in our immediate area), a crew from Ron Miedema Concrete set the forms and poured the base wall for the new addition. It was fun watching the large pump truck, through its extensive arm system and flexible hose, place the cement right where it was needed.

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At the end of the day, the walls were done and ready to cure, which I would guess, will take a few days in the cold forecast for this week.

We’re grateful for the diligent work of these men so far – in some chilly and snowy weather!

Published in: on November 26, 2018 at 11:01 PM  Comments (1)