Commissioners Plan for Future Arena Activities and COSI Grants for LCC

Prowers County Courthouse

Prowers County Courthouse

The Prowers County Commissioners discussed a date for next year’s Colorado Junior Rodeo Association’s finals with association president, Danielle Wollert. “We’re looking at a tight schedule for next August,” she explained, adding that the dates will overlap with the start of school next year and may coincide with the Sand and Sage Fair that will run from August 5th through the 12th.  Wollert said she’d rather go earlier than later and suggested July 27-30 for the finals.  The commissioners said they would check on the schedules before committing to an agreement, and would respond once they had an assurance for the changes.

Kirk Powers, Building Operations Supervisor, said the fairgrounds had seen its fair share of use recently with the conclusion of the mounted target shooting competition held this past weekend. “Although there usually aren’t a lot of people watching in the stands, this was the largest turnout of contestants that came to participate,” he said, mentioning there were 58 competitors from the region who spent two days in town to take part.  Axel Thurner, who has organized the mounted shooting competition in recent times, has said in the past that the arena at the fairgrounds is one of the best his teammates have seen.  The competition has been coming to Lamar for the past several years.  Powers said the annual LCC Antelope Stampede would be the last large event of the year held at the arena.

Powers said the gas leak that evacuated the Prowers Courthouse on Thursday, September 22nd was basically an outside job.  “A backhoe broke open a gas line east of the courthouse parking lot where there was an excavation job underway.  The gas we smelled inside the courthouse was filtering in through the HVAC system and wasn’t an inside leak,” he explained.  The mid-morning leak was strong enough to be noticed from the downtown area surrounding the courthouse and all personnel were evacuated at first and sent home by that afternoon as the repairs had not closed off the leak by that time.  Powers added that there was no real danger of a fire developing at the problem site.

Lamar Community College President, Dr. Linda Lujan and LCC Foundation Executive Director, Ann-Marie Crampton, provided the commissioners with an update on the role the college plays in helping the county for economic development. She stated, “I did the same with Baca, Kiowa and Cheyenne counties and got very similar responses with economic development and skilled workforce training, so we are headed in that direction.”

Referencing a visit by representatives of the American Accreditation Commission on Education and Nursing, Lujan said she anticipated the same high marks on the program which were received in 2012 during the last visit, “It’s critical that we do a good job on that to maintain our accreditation. I believe we’ll see the same results.  Every year we train 60 nurses, thirty, first-year and thirty, second-year and it’s critical to our communities that we can graduate them with full accreditation.”

Dr. Lujan and Crampton discussed COSI, Career Opportunity Scholarship funding grants with the commissioners. The county made a contribution for matching funds in the prior school year, and Crampton asked that the county would allow the LCC Foundation to become the fiscal agent for the scholarship for another year for the four counties in the region.  She said the LCC allocation gave the school up to $86,992 of combined COSI and matching funds which would be given away.  To date, $45,000 has been given out, including $21,000 from Prowers County allocations and 13 recipients were from the county.  Crampton said additional funds have been approved from the State Department of Higher Education has confirmed funding for next year. Prowers County allocation was $18,420 last year and will be up to $20,112 for the coming year.  She asked, “I would ask that you review your budget and see if you could partially fund that as well.  It really helped with as many allocations and counties as I had.”

Commissioner Buxton-Andrade asked if the college was offering courses for advanced rated EMTs as there was a need in the community with a new business opening soon that would require that level of training. Crampton said the majority of need has been for intermediate training levels and the college has directed its training in that area.  She said the number of students runs from five to ten and only five students attended the latest offering.

Dr. Lujan noted that the long-awaited opening of the new dorm, Prowers House, will take place this week. The last hurdle for the opening was inspections of the boiler and one from the fire marshall.  A busy schedule postponed the opening from last week.  Since the college opened, those students who were earmarked for the new dorm had been living in local motels while the project was being completed.
By Russ Baldwin

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