Governor helps Bow celebrate community growth

Monday was a big day in Broken Bow, as the community welcomed Governor Dave Heineman to celebrate the completion of several businesses and projects. The events for the day were organized by the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce, and included a rigorous schedule with stops every 20 minutes throughout the afternoon. The day was planned to celebrate the growth and accomplishments in the community within the past year. A large part of the day’s activities were concentrated on the west edge of Broken Bow, in the area known as Custer Campus. Thanks to the efforts of the Custer Economic Development Corporation, the area that was once a corn field is now home to five business offices, including a college. The final stop on Monday’s ribbon cutting schedule was at the college, which welcomes Bellevue University as a partner to the campus. Since 2003, Bellevue University and Mid-Plains Community College have joined in a collaborative effort that has allowed hundreds of MPCC students to achieve their goal of attaining a four-year degree. The new facility at Broken Bow’s extended campus allow’s both schools to have a permanent presence in the community. Dr. Virginia Moon, Broken Bow Superintendent of Schools, addressed those on hand for the ribbon cutting regarding the opportunity students in the area now have with the addition of the partnership of these colleges. “Studies show that students who take college credits while still in high school are four times more likely to go on and get a degree. It is very important that we give them that opportunity,” said Dr. Moon. With the Broken Bow Extended Campus, area students now have that opportunity. They can begin taking courses at Mid-Plains toward their two-year degree before even graduating from high school. Then at the end of that two years, they now have the option to transfer those credits to Bellevue and earn a four-year degree. It is a partnership that offers a huge educational opportunity for not only young students, but students of all ages in central Nebraska. In opening remarks during the ribbon cutting ceremony, Bellevue University President Mary Hawkins explained that the college was started by the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce for the purpose of community development. Rather than depend on tax dollars, the college opted to become private, and has continued to grow. Hawkins says there will soon be a full-time University staff member at the campus. Governor Heineman also praised the efforts of local leadership who worked diligently, raising funds to build the campus. “Education really is our future,” the Governor remarked in thanking individuals such as Jerry Adams and R.J. Thomas for their contributions in developing Custer Campus. Besides Adams and Thomas, other members of the Custer Campus Board of Directors are Jim Jenkins, Mike Flint, Mac McMeen, Larry Coleman and Stuart Fox. Information on Mid-Plains Community College and Bellevue University is available at the campus for anyone interested in learning more.