Graff Events Center continues growing into its full potential

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

McCook has been an area trade center since before the time the Newsboy plied the skies of Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas delivering the Gazette.

Generations of area high school students have traveled to Nebraska's oldest two-year college for events like Band Days and Inter-High Day, many of them returning after high school graduation once they got a taste for the quality education it could offer on one of the most attractive campuses around.

Now right on time, one of McCook Community College's most important new assets, the Peter and Dolores Graff Events Center, is growing into its expansive potential.

After the $10 million events center was completed in 2014, the Republican Plains Activity Conference used it for volleyball and basketball final tournaments during the 2015-16 school year.

Besides placing conference tournaments in a neutral facility, the move to McCook helped improve attendance and helped raise excitement levels for the players, coaches and fans, according to Alan Garey, superintendent of Medicine Valley and RPAC Co-Activities Director.

The RPAC already has plans to conduct its next Leadership Workshops during the fall semester, when all 15-member schools send their student council members to the MCC campus for leadership building, following-up on the first such event last September.

Now comes word that MCC and the RPACD have formalized an agreement that will put the conferences basketball and volleyball finals in the Peter and Dolores Graff Events Center for the next two years.

"We're proud we have this beautiful facility here on campus in the Peter and Dolores Graff Events Center," Andy Long, MCC Vice President, said in a news release announcing the agreement.

"And, we are thrilled when we can use it for the benefit of area high school students whether on the courts or in the classrooms developing the next generation of leaders.

"One of the strengths of smaller towns is their school systems and it is nice when the college can help by pooling resources to help our schools whenever possible. We are thrilled to be partners with the RPAC and look forward to working with them," Long said.

"The MCC Events Center is a clean, no-nonsense modern facility that quietly goes about the business of supporting McCook Community College and the students it prepares for the future," we wrote when the facility was dedicated in October 2014.

"It's gratifying to see local families and businesses that give back to the community that has made their success possible," we continued. "Generations of students to come will benefit from their generosity."

That was true two years ago, and it's even truer today.

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