by jamesc 12/19/2013 12:33:48 PM --
O’NEILL – Many people are contributing very generously to the Northeast Community College Extended Campus Campaign this holiday season, but nothing is more heartwarming than a recent gift from O’Neill Elementary School students.
The students have demonstrated how if everyone gives just a little, together it can help a lot. Each student was asked to consider donating $1 or $2 to the campaign; while at the same time, teachers, staff and board members were also challenged. Amy Shane, superintendent of O’Neill Public Schools and education sector leader for the campaign, led the effort with school districts across the nine-county area.
“If every K-12 student across the nine-county region gave $2, we would collect nearly $12,000,” recounted Shane. “If each secretary and custodian were to give $20, each school board member $100, teacher $200, principal $300 and superintendent $400, we would collect over $150,000.”
Collectively, the O’Neill Community School District donated over $7,500 to the $2.8 million campaign to finance a new extended campus facility in O’Neill.
“The far-reaching impact of this project on our rural communities is huge,” said Shane. “Having close connections to higher education is critical to our success as a region. As a school district, we wanted to do our part and show our support of the project.”
This facility, which will be built on Highway 275 just west of the Farm Credit Services building on the east side of O’Neill, will replace the existing, aging building that now houses the College’s operations. It will serves residents of nine counties in North Central Nebraska including Antelope, Boyd, Brown, Garfield, Holt, Keya Paha, Knox, Rock and Wheeler counties.
The current facilities are outdated with inadequate plumbing, electrical and heating and ventilation systems and the upper level of the facility is not handicap accessible. In addition, since the building continues to be used for a number of public activities, security of the building and equipment is a concern.
In addition, the new O’Neill Extended Campus will also offer more than what is available at the current location. In addition to more classroom and lab space, it will feature a technical training facility with large overhead doors to be used for industrial and agricultural customized training classes. A site adjacent to that portion of the facility is available for future expansion.
Once this facility is built, Northeast will equip it with technology and furnishings and will provide funding for ongoing operations for years to come. Ultimately, this campaign will enhance and expand benefits to the area without the assessment of additional taxes. “Your tax dollars will not increase as a result of this project, but they will allow more of those dollars to be used locally,” said Northeast Community College President Michael Chipps.
He continued by stating that the economic vitality of the Northeast service area depends on the availability of its communities to educate a workforce capable of supporting, attracting, and sustaining economic growth. “We can empower our region by expanding opportunities for all individuals to build the skills they need to succeed and to help our businesses thrive,” said Dr. Chipps. “Investing in a new Northeast Community College Extended Campus in North Central Nebraska will provide extraordinary dividends for years to come.”
The capital campaign to finance the new extended campus continues, with nearly $2.5 million currently raised. Once funds have been secured, construction will take approximately 12-18 months. To take advantage of tax benefits, residents are encouraged to consider investing in this project before the end of the year. Farmers and ranchers might consider the additional benefits of donating agriculture commodities. For more information on the campaign or to make a pledge, visit www.northeast.edu/oneill.
Students from O’Neill Elementary School collected $7,500 to Northeast Community College’s $2.8 million Extended Campus Capital Campaign. Amy Shane, superintendent of O’Neill Public Schools, (back row, second from left) presents a check to Merri Schneider, coordinator of the O’Neill extended campus, in front of the students.