Funds for ag center top $2M mark

In Monday’s meeting of the Miles Community College Board of Trustees, the progress of the Ag Advancement Center was discussed.

The center is slowly becoming more of a reality, with the most recent donation pushing the college over $2 million toward the construction. 

The center at the MCC arena west of town will include classrooms, faculty offices, a foyer area, seating for over 500 people and a multipurpose space to be used for the training and enrollment in the Agriculture and Equine Studies program. 

The center will be set up to host rodeo and community events. 

Since February 2014, MCC has been seeking donations toward the center. Currently it has received donations from 75 people, foundations and organizations. 

MCC currently has $2.2 million toward the construction of the center. The recent $100,000 donation from the Bair Ranch Foundation pushed them over the $2 million mark. 

According to MCC President Stacy Klippenstein, the estimated cost for the building, including equipment and exterior work, is around $3.8 million.

The Charles M. Bair family, who were very involved in agriculture in eastern Montana.

Since MCC began fundraising, the cost of metal has increased 6 percent. 

The college has also applied for a Community Development Block Grant but is waiting to hear back.

If you want to donate to the project, you can visit the MCC website at milescc.edu or contact the President’s Office at (406) 874-6165.

“Our goal is to provide the best learning environments for our students and, as a community college, provide quality space for community use,” said Klippenstein. 

An update on the Moorehead/Dickinson road access to South Haynes Avenue was also given.

The road, which would run from MCC across the Fretland property and connect with South Haynes Avenue, is a joint project of MCC and First Interstate Bank, which is building a new full-service location fronting the college on the property.

The college has hit a delay and is now hoping for the road to be prepped in May, and to receive the final plans in June. With the later start, the Heavy Equipment students won’t be able to help with the prep work, but the college is hoping to have students help with laying the asphalt when the time comes. 

Not having the students help in the beginning would affect the cost, but as they are planning to have them help toward the end, the cost will even out.

Final cost has not been calculated yet, but past estimates have it between $400,000 to $420,000. 

“We’re excited about the project,” said Klippenstein. “It will be a nice road when done.”

The south edge of the Fretland property from Haynes to Dickinson was donated to the school by Roger Lothspeich in December 2012.

There is also a proposed sidewalk, cross-walk and a possible four-way stop. The street will be a no-parking street. The road will be built to city specifications.

Also at the meeting, the board agreed to auction off obsolete equipment, which includes a 1983 Case Backhoe and a 1972 Kenworth. The backhoe is an estimated value of $2,000, and the Kenworth is estimated at $7,000. 

The Student Senate gave an update. They have had their officer elections and are now transitioning them into their positions. The Commons has not been completed, and they are investigating the delay. A random act of kindness was completed, and they are going forward with the “Pack the Stadium Blue” event for the next baseball game. 

According to the budget, the college is running ahead of their budget projection.

The next meeting will be May 23 at 5:30 p.m.