$1M gift advances Miles City College indoor ag center | TSLN.com

$1M gift advances Miles City College indoor ag center

Dan Cogger
Miles City Star

The MCC Ag Advancement Center will have an indoor arena, three classrooms and seating for over 500 people, and will be set up to host rodeo and community events. Photo courtesy????

The proposed Ag Advancement Center project at Miles Community College took a major step forward this week, courtesy of the largest single donation in school history.

MCC issued a press release Tuesday, announcing an anonymous gift of $1 million toward the Ag Advancement Center. MCC President Stacy Klippenstein said he was overwhelmed by the donor's generosity, and is excited for the project to move forward.

"We knew this project was going to be a marathon, not a sprint," Klippenstein said. "With our original plan, we were looking at probably a two- to three-year project, from raising funds to the actual build. But with a million dollars already dedicated, plus other smaller donations we already have in place, we are close to being halfway there.

"To be at this point this early in a major campaign like this is pretty incredible."

The MCC Ag Advancement Center will have an indoor arena, three classrooms and seating for over 500 people, and will be set up to host rodeo and community events, according to the press release. Currently, without an indoor facility to offer appropriate learning environments for the agriculture and equine programs, potential students leave the area and Montana to attend other out-of-state institutions.

"What the project gives us is an educational center for the students in the ag and equine programs they didn't have before," Klippenstein explained. "It gives us the appropriate facilities to help educate more effectively. It helps send a message that we are attempting to be a main educational center for the future ag and equine leaders. We don't want our students to leave Montana because Wyoming has an indoor facility."

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Miles City Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director John Laney, who serves as co-chair for the Ag Advancement Center Campaign, said this donation was exactly what the project needed to move it from an idea to a reality. He also praised the generosity of the anonymous donor.

"The momentum that a gift like this generates for the project is just amazing," he said. "In the big picture, the students who continue their education in MCC's Ag Advancement Center are the future of agriculture in our area, so the community has a lot at stake in this endeavor. It's a huge affirmation that what we are doing is the right thing."

Klippenstein said fundraising will now transition from a silent phase of the campaign to a more public one to complete the raising of the $3 million. Because MCC is already halfway to that goal, a timeline is now being created with the possibility of shovels in the ground by spring.

"If we reach a commitment of two million dollars, we could start that planning stage by January 1," he said. "We want to make sure we do this process correctly. We need to make sure we continue to work with the Endowment Board. And we need to develop the marketing plan so we can begin our recruitment for fall of 2015 and 2016."

MCC and the MCC Endowment Board will continue their efforts to raise the remaining funds necessary to complete this project. For more information about the campaign, people can contact President Klippenstein at 406-874-6165 or President@milescc.edu.

–Reprinted with permission from the Miles City Star

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