Dodge City Community College is one step closer to having an on-campus activities center.

The Dodge City Community College Foundation announced Monday they received a letter from the Kansas Division of Emergency Management stating, "This letter serves as notification that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has granted approved for Phase II of your application submitted to construct a safe room at Dodge City Community College."

"This is really exciting news, what we've been waiting for," said Roger Proffitt, DCCC Foundation director. "We sent the final design and costs to FEMA about two months ago and this approval letter lets us begin construction.

"Our grant application with FEMA for $491,000 will help fund the student activities center/tornado shelter/monolithic dome. This last step has been approved in a long process.

"The student activities center project is becoming a reality because we are fortunate to be working with Brian Marshall and his creative team at Building Solutions. They've completely designed the center and will be the general contractor on the project. They have even developed a web site, dc3dome.com, where you can go see a 3-D fly-though and keep up with construction progress."

The Student Activities Center will be built as a monolithic dome, a FEMA-approved tornado shelter/safe room, like the one in Fowler. It will be located just off of 14th Avenue on the east side of the DCCC campus, north of the college entrance drive.

"Current research indicates that students who regularly participate in campus recreation are more likely to stay in college, graduate at higher rates, earn higher GPAs, and have an overall more satisfying college experience," said Dr. Don Woodburn, president of DCCC. "Visit just about any college campus today, and you will see state-of-the-art recreation and fitness centers. The Student Activities Center will greatly enhance student recruitment, which will increase our student enrollment."

As well as providing a much-needed tornado shelter for the community, there will be numerous indoor year-round, climate controlled activities such as a walking track, wellness center and aerobics room. It will have a student activities room and will greatly enhance student intramurals. All collegiate basketball and volleyball games will be played in the center.

"DCCC Foundation has kicked off the 'Why Not DC3' capital campaign," said Duane Ross, chairman of the DCCC Foundation. "Honorary co-chairs for the campaign are Senator Pat Roberts and his wife, Franki.

"This is a five-year, $5 million dollar fundraising campaign to help meet the funding needs for the new activities center.

"Now that we have FEMA's approval, we will begin construction and get moving with our fundraising campaign. Our campaign total with the FEMA grant, current donations and pledges, is more than $1.5 million. There are naming opportunities available. In fact, two donors have already taken advantage of a naming opportunity."

The DCCC Student Activities Center will be a facility that DCCC and the Dodge City Community can showcase as a state-of-the-art, environmental friendly building. The monolithic construction, because of its design, saves more than 30 percent in construction costs and will reduce utility costs by 50 percent or more per year.

To donate to the "Why Not DC3" capital campaign, please contact Roger Proffitt at the DCCC Foundation office at 620-227-9249 or donate online at dc3.edu.