MCC unveils Ag Center

Stacy Klippenstein, president of Miles Community College, speaks during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new MCC Ag Advancement Center in Miles City. Klippenstein is making a surprise announcement that the arena would be named Champion Arena to honor MCC donors Jan and Bill Champion, right. (Star photo by Steve Allison)

While donor and dignitaries explained their admiration for the new Miles Community College Agricultural Advancement Center, a member of the MCC rodeo team summed up the new building simply and precisely. When asked what he thought about the new building, his answer was “beautiful.”

The building includes an indoor arena measuring 110-by-200 feet with bleachers; three classrooms complete with all the high-tech necessities, a large lobby with a concession stand, restrooms, offices, and a tack room and an apartment for an on-site manager.  The metal bleachers include backs for the seats and the top level of the bleachers opens to a balcony that overlooks the lobby.

MCC President Stacy Klippenstein said that while he was both “relieved and excited” that the building was completed, he “acknowledges that there is still some work to do.” But to have it “physically in place” is nice after months of planning and construction. He said not everyone could visualize the finished building when it was just two-dimensional drawings. “It is a perfect size and will be in use every weekend,” he said.

Don Hartman, president of the Miles City Endowment Board, said that MCC has already had inquiries from organizations and groups interested in renting the facility when it is not in use by the college. “Everybody seems to like it,” he said. Rental fees are expected to help pay for maintenance costs.

As for Hartman himself, during the symbolic ribbon-cutting ceremony held in the middle of the arena, he said that the center “went beyond my wildest dreams.”

In the 30 months since the plans were announced to build the Center, Hartman said almost the entire $2.8 million cost was raised thanks to community donations. “That shows that this community supports MCC,” he said.

A list of major supporters is featured on a photo wall in the lobby designed by ABC Glass. Other major donors have signs acknowledging their contributions in the main arena area.

Among the primary early supporters of the Ag Advancement Center were Bill and Jan Champion. In recognition of their support, Klippenstein revealed a sign during the ceremonies that named the arena “Champion Arena” after the Champions. 

Wally Badgett, MCC rodeo coach and a long-time supporter of expanding the ag and equine programs at MCC, said the Center is “going to be real nice for the college and the community and all southeastern Montana.”

There was also praise for the work done by Stevenson Design, Inc of Miles City. “It’s better than we imagined,” Mike Stevenson said, crediting project architect Brandon Janshen with the major design work. Jackson Contractors, which has an office in Miles City, was the primary contractor. Hartman noted they finished work early and under budget.

The first event that will show off the facility with be a rodeo on April 21-22.

(Contact Amorette Allison at 406-234-0450 or mcreporter@midrivers.com.)