Plans are underway at Dodge City Community College (DCCC) for the construction of a new student activity center.
At a special meeting on Wednesday the college and the DCCC Foundation made a presentation to the USD 443 Board of Education requesting a property tax exemption for the construction of the center. The college will be making the request to all taxing entities in the county. No action was taken at the meeting.
Planned for a ground breaking in January and with a scheduled completion date of early 2015, the new building would house a basketball court, walking track, indoor soccer field, climbing wall, educational room, snack bar, wellness center and student social area.
“It stood out that we were lacking facilities,” Duane Ross, president of the DCCC Foundation, said at the meeting. “… If we’re going to attract students we’re going to have to think about how we’re going to offer that experience.”
In addition to attracting future students, Ross claimed the new building was being planned in response to the student body’s call for more facilities for social and physical activities. It would also provide additional jobs for students. The college also hopes the new building will give them an edge over other area schools.
“I hope we have a facility that the whole community will be proud of,” Ross said.
Aside from a new location for intramural sports, the activity center would also host home basketball and volleyball games for the college. Drawing from a similar building in Fowler, the new activity center would be structured as a monolithic dome, doubling as a FEMA-approved tornado shelter. The center would serve a community purpose in that respect and could also be used as a disaster staging area. It would be made of an inflatable Airform, steel-reinforced concrete and a polyurethane foam insulation. Ross claimed that, aside from its benefit as an emergency shelter, a dome construction would reduce construction costs by thirty percent.
For the design of new building the college brought in Michael McCoy Architects. The Construction Manager at Risk is Simpson Construction. The estimated cost of the building is $8 million, most of which will come from industrial revenue bonds. So far the college has raised $1,436,000 for the project including $491,000 from FEMA and $945,000 from the Why Not DC3 Campaign.
At the DCCC campus on Thursday, reception to the proposed new building seemed positive.
“I think it’d be nice just to have something close,” DCCC student Hayden Simmons said.
“It’d be a lot better,” added Jerry Kearney, a baseball player at the college.
Both students frequently visit the gym and often attend college sporting events.
Aside from the activity center, DCCC continues construction of its new men’s dormitory, which is scheduled for a completion date of fall 2014. A new agricultural center is being planned near the Expo Center, which will include new space for agricultural classes, barns and an outdoor arena. The college’s theater is also scheduled for an update.