Excitement is growing as officials prepare to cut the ribbon on a new Mid-Plains Community College campus in Valentine on Wednesday.
It should be noted that the new Valentine campus and planned celebration wouldn't have been possible without the generous support of numerous members of the community, along with local and regional organizations, who envisioned the need for enhanced educational opportunities in the Nebraska Sandhills.
"The community support for the campus has just been outstanding," said Bonnie Kruse, MPCC area director of Institutional Advancement. "The residents of Valentine were the largest contributors – committing $1 million as part of their sales tax renewal special election in 2014. That speaks volumes. It is the community's campus, and the town has really embraced that."
Altogether, more than 20 donors contributed a total of $2.7 million toward the campus. In addition to the City of Valentine, those included: MPCC, private foundations, federal agencies, individual donors and community businesses and organizations.
"The majority of the money people gave to the project over last three years went toward construction," said Kruse. "Now that the building is up, we can really start to focus on offering the community what it needs as far as training for current and potential employees."
Kruse said MPCC recognizes that every community is unique and requires different skill sets to thrive. That is what the college's outreach campuses in Valentine, Broken Bow, Ogallala and Imperial are designed to do – offer educational opportunities and customized training for the particular areas they serve. Ongoing contributions are essential to providing those services in Cherry County.
"The need doesn't stop once the building is constructed," said Kruse. "We want to give the community what it wants, and there are still opportunities for people to help us do that. When someone makes a gift to the college, it can be done in a number of ways, including scholarships, equipment or as an annual gift."
Those interested in contributing to the MPCC Valentine Campus project can contact Kruse at email@example.com, or (308) 535-3754 for more information.