MCC breaks ground for Ag Advancement Center

Early Thursday a crowd of over 30 people gathered at the future location of the Miles Community College Ag Advancement Center to celebrate the ground breaking of the site.

The center will be located on the West End Campus which is out past the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds. 

Several people from what MCC President Stacy Klippenstein called the shovel crew spoke on behalf of the college.

“We met as a group every Wednesday for the last two and a half years,” said Klippenstein. “What a special day. It started two and a half years ago for me but has been a goal long before that.”

It began with a vision from previous trustees, the MCC community and the Miles City community, said Klippenstein.

“It’s about our ag students, the future of our equine programs and about the future of building a better program and having the right facilities for MCC,” said Klippenstein. “But it was also about having a facility for our Miles City area and southeastern Montana.”

According to Hartman, the college has been working toward this project for almost four years. They began in February 2014.

“Four years ago in November we were standing out here looking at the old corral and asking the director of our equine program at the time why we needed an indoor facility,” said Hartman. “It was about 30 degrees outside and it was blowing around 35 miles per hour. And it was cold and he said do you have any other questions.”

According to Petersen, the board was unsure about the center in the beginning. They didn’t know if it was a proper investment at the time.

“We were just coming off of low enrollment and were unsure about the future. We were confident though that agriculture is and will be the backbone of our community,” said Petersen. “The board realized we needed to strike out and we needed to add offerings to the college to attract more students.”

After the groundbreaking the audience was welcomed to tour the facility, the footprint of which was outlined in orange paint to create more of a visual look for the crowd. 

In April the college passed the $2 million mark in donations for construction. Donations from 75 people, foundations and organizations have been received.

Then on July 25, the MCC Board of Trustees voted to spend $470,000 of current fee generated money and borrow another $480,000 from the Montana Board of Investments in order to provide more funding for the project. Total construction cost for the center is $3.4 million.

The center will be 36,000 square feet in size. It will include classrooms, faculty offices, an apartment, a foyer area, seating for around 500 people and a multipurpose space to be used for training and enrollment in the Agriculture and Equine Studies program. The foyer will house the Bucking Horse Sale Wall of Fame. 

The apartment will house a facilitator that will live in and monitor the building, and help plan events among other tasks.

The building was ordered on June 22 and is expected to arrive Aug. 15.

The new facility is expected to boost enrollment in both programs. Many potential students are choosing colleges with indoor facilities, officials said. As of now the ag program is the third most popular program offered at MCC. 

The shovel crew included Klippenstein; MCC Endowment Board Chair Don Hartman; Ag Advancement Committee Chair John Laney; Ag Advancement Committee Assistant Director Sue Stanton; Ag Advancement Center Committee members Sheryl Cathey and Wally Badgett; faculty member Brett Badgett; ag program faculty member Kim Gibbs; Student Body President Austen Wemmer; Jackson Contractor Group representatives Rylan Oakland and Matt Brossman; Stevenson Design representative Brandon Janshen; and MCC Board Chair Mark Petersen. 

To donate to the Ag Advancement Center contact, the MCC President’s Office at (406) 874-6165 or visit the MCC website at milescc.edu.