Special to the Wellington Daily News
It was a hot Thursday afternoon as Cowley College President Dennis Rittle spoke at the ribbon cutting for the new Sumner County Cowley College campus, thanking the citizens of Sumner County for their generosity, the City of Wellington, the donors of the college, and the local and state government officials who were there today.
The process started three years ago, he recollected, before being brought to a vote.
He went on to add that State Senator Larry Alley was unable to attend. President Rittle read a note from him expressing his admiration and thanks involving the new campus.
Kelly Ford, Director of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, then spoke, saying this project started by asking ‘what if?’
“We’re so very proud of the people on this campus today.”
Mayor Hansel then spoke about the very beginnings of this project and all of the people who came together at various levels to make this work.
When the idea of there even being a college campus in Wellington finally came to pass in early November of 2016, things began to move very quickly.
Just a few weeks after the vote, the project kicked into gear with the acquisition of land from the Short family. In honor of the eighteen acres of land donated to the college, the family received naming rights and announced the naming of the first building to be the Short General Education Center.
Groundbreaking occurred in August of last year, and the site has been a whirl of construction activity ever since.
She thanked both past and present members of the Wellington City Council, as well as all of the other people involved in the government of the City of Wellington who helped see this project come to fruition.
After all of the speakers were finished, the ribbon cutting took place on the north end of the Technology & Innovation Center. The modern structure will be open for students later this month when classes start.
Members from Tect Aerospace were on hand, as well as several people connected to Cowley College's main Arkansas City campus who came over for the event.
Outgoing Rep. Anita Judd-Jenkins was also on hand, along with newly-elected Rep. Bill Rhily, and Senator Ron Estes.
There was a large crowd on hand as they toured the completed building and were able to speak to the Cowley College representatives who were on hand.
The second building, the Short General Education Center, will open in the fall of 2019.
One year into her position as Executive Director of Enrollment Management, Kristi Shaw and her team of 21 employees has enrollment at Cowley College soaring. Two months ago, she said, “The college has seen a tremendous increase in enrollment in the past year. As of May 31, 2018, fall enrollment at Cowley College stands at 1,215 compared to 1,047 on the same date a year ago. Full time equivalency for the fall is 976.4 compared to 642.9 at this time last year, while students are enrolled in 5,000 more credit hours (14646 compared to 9,644).