Completion of Phase 1 of practice facility rescheduled due to weather
Whether the month of February qualifies as late winter or early spring, Seward County Community College baseball and softball players will be able to log quality practice time regardless of the weather. That’s because of the newly-constructed, $2.1 million Sharp Family Champions Center. SCCC invites the public to a ribbon-cutting and open house slated for the morning of Feb. 24, 2020. The event marks the completion of a seven-year process launched by the SCCC Foundation’s capital campaign in 2013.
SCCC Vice President of Student Services Celeste Donovan, who also serves as Liberal Area Chamber of Commerce President, said the ribbon-cutting is cause for celebration.
“For the college, of course, this is very exciting, but from the community perspective, it is also a positive step,” she said. “I know the Foundation has plans for two more phases to this project, and in the future, we foresee various community groups benefiting.”
At this point, the indoor batting cages and turf and track will be utilized by the SCCC Saints athletics teams. That is precisely what former baseball coach and athletic director Galen McSpadden envisioned when he pitched the notion to longtime supporters Gene and Jo Ann Sharp. As the donors recall, Gene Sharp was concerned to see baseball team members shoveling snow from the field one winter day. A community college with top-quality athletic programs should provide an indoor practice facility, he felt, and that point of view led to the structure SCCC will open Feb. 24.
“This project is truly a testament to the Sharp family, and other key supporters like Gary and Gwen Dunnam and Galen McSpadden,” said SCCC President Dr. Ken Trzaska. “It took persistence and grit, and the can-do spirit of this community.”
The plan for the Champions Center progressed through several stages as the college and the SCCC Foundation experienced changes in personnel and the economic landscape shifted. The SCCC Board of Trustees remained committed to the lowest mill levy possible.
By 2018, “we knew we needed to get the project moving,” said Trzaska. “I applaud the Sharps for their willingness to bear with us as we worked through the details.” Construction firm American Iron began work on the building during the summer of 2019, and final details were wrapped up by year’s end.
“It’s important for our community to see the power of philanthropy, and to know that this remarkable facility was constructed wholly with donations,“ said Trzaska. “Our trustees take the principle of stewardship seriously.”
“As a newcomer to the community, I’m so impressed with this project and the support we have for the Saints,“ said SCCC Athletic Director Dan Artamenko. “It’s what every athletic program hopes for, and we’re very thankful.”
The ribbon-cutting and open house event is set for 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 24, inside the new building at the southeast corner of SCCC’s main campus, 1801 N. Kansas Ave., Liberal.
For more information, call SCCC at 620-624-1951.