Public will play important part in college's future

Thursday, January 26, 2017

You should always have a plan in mind, even when you can't immediately see a way to accomplish it.

Gov. Pete Ricketts has proposed a 3 percent cut in funding to community colleges, but that doesn't mean officials and the communities they serve should stop planning for the future.

In fact, tough times make it even more important for tax-supported entities to focus on their primary mission and find ways to provide their services most effectively.

A number of ideas for Mid-Plains Community College area facilities were offered at a work session before Wednesday's meeting of the board of governors.

Possibilities include converting McCook's old Elks Club building into a "Protective Services" facility for programs such as nursing, criminal justice, fire, EMT and paramedic programs; establishing softball and baseball fields on the former Broken Tee Par 3 golf course around the building; improving and expanding spaces for music, fine arts and graphic design programs; modernizing the von Riesen Library and other projects.

An indoor arena like McCook's Kiplinger Arena was one of the ideas for North Platte, and expanded classrooms and other upgrades for the Imperial campus could be included.

College President Ryan Purdy emphasized that these are internal ideas only, and the college will begin conducting town hall meetings over the next months to help determine which of them will become part of the college's facilities master plan.

And, like much of the McCook Community College campus, many of the improvements would result from the generosity of donors grateful for the services Nebraska's oldest junior college has provided over years past, and their desire to see the tradition continue.

If you, a friend or family member attended McCook Community College, plan to do so, or just want to see this important resource continue to thrive, we hope you will avail yourself of the opportunity to have your ideas heard.

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