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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Teachers of teachers break ground on an expanded facility

  • The Southwest Plains Regional Service Center, a professional education provider for educators and administrators, celebrated the groundbreaking of a new 8,200 square foot conference center, Friday.
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  • SUBLETTE — The Southwest Plains Regional Service Center, a professional education provider for educators and administrators, celebrated the groundbreaking of a new 8,200 square foot conference center, Friday.
    Southwest Plains Regional Service Center provides virtual and face-to-face workshops for educators throughout the state. Because the current building does not fit the size of groups they often meet with, the new addition is a necessity, CFO Stuart Sutton said.
    "Sometimes we've had to use high schools or junior colleges in the area because we didn't have enough room to accommodate them," Sutton said.
    CEO Kelly Gillespie described the building of the conference center as a fulfillment of a dream for her. "My philosophy is life-long learning and I believe that every individual is better when they're learning. This facility helps fulfill my personal dream and the organization's dream of expanded opportunities for educators."
    The new building will help with the team's plans for the future, Gillespie said. "In the next five years we will be bringing in $7 million with grants that will go to (Kansas) schools."
    The plans for the new addition of the Southwest Plains Regional Service Center began over ten years ago with the purchase of a connected lot. Locals soldiered through hard blowing winds and rising temperatures to watch the ground breaking ceremony for the new conference center.
    In total, the estimated cost for the service center will be a little over $1 million, a cost the board held off on until it felt it was fiscally responsible to proceed.
    The new building will be equipped with "state of the art technology" and a conference area with an expandable room. There will also be a full service kitchen and small meeting spaces. "It's going to be one of a kind for southwest Kansas," Gillespie said.
    The Southwest Plains Regional Service Center began in 1990 with 18 members of the organization and eight employees with a focus on insurance and an interest in education on the side. The company now has 80 employees and serves 80 different districts across the state of Kansas, Gillespie said.
    The company is a professional learning provider and is primarily dedicated to "improving Pre K-16 education and the lives of students by providing quality professional learning to administrators, educators, and students," Gillespie said.
    The designer for the building is Blaine Davis of Architecture Plus in Garden City and the general contractor is Lee Construction, also of Garden City. The expected completion time for the building is the middle of December. 

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