Bahai News - Plano's Baha'i community's new Regional Center could serve the entire community

Plano Baha'is hope to cross religious divides with new center

By Cathy Spaulding, Staff writer
October 21, 2000

Members of Plano's Baha'i community say their new Regional Center could serve the entire community, not just their group

The Baha'is will break ground for the center at 2 p.m. Sunday at their building site, near the southwest corner of Hedgcoxe Road and Coit Road.

"This event is a historic one for the Baha'is of the Dallas/Fort Worth area, as it will be the first Baha'i center in the Metroplex designed and built for the purpose," said Plano spokesman Zia Shamsky.

He said the new structure will accommodate the faith community's worship, administration, education and fellowship activities.

Spiritual assembly member Jeff Babbitt said the facility will be about 43,000 square feet. However, the first phase, to include an auditorium, classrooms and a dining facility, will be about 10,000 square feet.

"We want to hold a lot of events that will cross cultures and cross religious lines," he said, adding that the first phase will feature a room for about 750 people.

Established in 1975, Baha'is of Plano now serves about 110 adults and 170 children, Babbitt said. However, meetings are held in people's homes.

He said the regional center will serve seven area Baha'i communities.

Harriet Gilman of Carrollton said she's excited because the center is designed by Canadian architect Hossein Amanat, who has designed buildings at the Baha'i World Center in Haifa, Israel.

"He is so gifted and his whole design is beautiful," she said. "He designed a magnificent arch in Tehran."

Key elements Amanat incorporates into the center's design include the use of abundant natural light, gardens, courtyards and landscaping to attract refresh the spirit, Shamsky said.

The Plano center will feature a courtyard that could be used for special events or overflow crowds, Babbitt said.

Future phases also include a larger auditorium and more classrooms.

Shamsky said the center will be open to the public for worship services and other events.

Babbitt said Baha'is in the area are raising the funds to build the facility.

The Baha'i faith was founded in the 1800s to stress the oneness of God and the oneness of humanity.

People wanting more information may call 1-877-339-7335 or go to www.dfwseek.org.

Contact staff writer Cathy Spaulding at 972-543-2262 or cathysp@hotmail.com.


©Copyright 2000, Plano Star Courier

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