MACC ground-breaking planned Wednesday.
Moberly Area Community College has been a part of the Hannibal community for over a decade, yet has never truly had a home it could call its own. That will change in the near future. At 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, the ground-breaking will take place for the new MACC building at Highway MM and Shinn Lane.
“Ever since we opened we were in what was considered a temporary facility because from that time until now Affordable Community Education (ACE) has been working very hard to raise the funds for a new building. It will be wonderful to see it become a reality,” said Wendy Johnson, director of MACC’s Hannibal site.
“We have been working on this for over 10 years. This has been like my baby. It’s been a long child birth,” laughed Sally Pole, a member of the ACE committee.
The new facility will feature 10 classrooms, including computer labs. Among those classrooms will be a science lab.
“Ever since we developed this site in Hannibal in 2000 we have not had a science lab in our own facility,” said Johnson. “We have utilized Hannibal High and Palmyra High science labs, and we’re very appreciative of them allowing us to come in and utilize those labs, but it will be nice to finally have a science lab of our own.”
Johnson says the new site will have adequate space for MACC, whose enrollment in Hannibal is now over 300 students.
“For now it most certainly will and for quite some time. But the building is being built where in the future if we needed to or wanted to it could be added onto,” she said.
“I think it’s going to make a big difference in our community,” said Poole, regarding the new building.
While the MACC satellite campus opened in Hannibal in 1998, when a few classes were offered in the Vo-Tech building at Hannibal High School, fund-raising for a new MACC building didn’t begin until 2000 when the community college began offering more classes in the former St. Elizabeth Hospital building. For the past three years MACC has been based in the former AT&T call center building on Communications Drive.
“We needed to raise $4.6 million initially,” said Poole, who praised the tireless fund-raising efforts over the past decade of ACE member, Branson Wood. “That number has changed a little bit over time since we turned this into a tornado shelter.”
A year ago MACC and ACE announced they were the recipients of a $877,246 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for the construction of a new Hannibal Area Higher Education Center. As part of the grant’s requirements, 13,475 square feet of the building must be built as a FEMA storm shelter.
Another big boost to the capital campaign came when MACC designated $1 million in Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) funds for the Hannibal project, according to Poole.
“People think we’ve done all the work. MACC has been an incredible partner. They are really committed to this area. They really are,” she said.
A major donation early in the campaign (2005) came when Drs. Christopher Bieniek and Curtis Burton donated the property for MACC’s new Hannibal campus. That gift was valued at over $1 million.
Despite the funds that have been raised, the finish line has not yet been crossed.
“We can get financing to finish the last part of it. We’ve got a little bit more fund-raising to do,” said Poole, estimating that approximately $1 million remains to be collected. “That’s really not (a lot), not in the fund-raising world. It won’t take us too long especially since people can see that we’ve got firm plans, they know exactly what it’s going to look like, they know where it’s going to be, who is providing services, how many students it’s going to be serving. There’s a lot more answers we have now than we had at the beginning. At the beginning it was more like a dream we were trying to sell. Now it’s reality.”