A new college building to light up outside?
Congratulation to McCook and Mid Plains Community College officials for their success in persuading the state Coordinating Commission for Post Secondary Education that a new $9.5 million, 53,000 square foot events center would be a good thing for MCC.
With the help of $7 million in private funding, which has yet to be obtained, but which is certainly in the realm of possibility, the college plans to provide a gymnasium with seats for up to 2,000 spectators, a smaller gym for practice and physical education activities, aerobic-cardiovascular-weight training areas, locker rooms, equipment storage, training room, coaches' offices and a meeting conference room.
It's been a long time coming.
As we wrote nearly a year ago, True Hall, built in 1939, is an exciting place to watch a close basketball or volleyball game, and has been well maintained and improved.
But it's cramped, with little seating for fans and those who potentially could be attracted to McCook Community College sports.
More importantly, it's a a liability to recruiting the best possible athletes.
Officials may not have the money in hand, but we're sure they have some idea where it may come from. As we pointed out last August, while it's a college area-wide project, it will have specific, special benefits for McCook.
With its already beautiful campus, the new events center will be one of the crown jewels in the crown of Nebraska's first junior college.
Congratulations as well to the college -- Mid Plains Community College board of governors, specifically, for "snuffing out" a plan to make all of the college's campuses entirely tobacco free.
It's tempting to follow the current trend toward legislating responsible behavior by banning all types of tobacco from all college property, but opponents of the ban made some good points in voting the change in policy down.
There's little justification in banning chewing tobacco, for instance, when there's no danger of being harmed by second-hand "chew," -- although just the thought conjures up all sorts of disgusting scenarios.
And, while the effects of second-hand smoke are well documented, those effects only occur in close quarters, not when the smoker and non-smoker are both outdoors under an unlimited Nebraska sky.
As another board member contended, if tobacco is banned because it's unhealthy for the user, what's next? Potato chips? Pop and candy bars?
We agree that it's unpleasant to have to "walk through a cloud of smoke" to exit or gain entrance to a classroom building or dorm, but let's just move the smokers away from those areas rather than denying them more of their civil rights.
Or, better yet, appeal to their sense of common courtesy. It'll be up to the smokers, then, to preserve their right to light up.