McDonald County campus holds ribbon cutting ceremony

Dr. James B. Tatum, a lifelong resident of McDonald County, speaks to the crowd of over 200 people that showed up for the grand opening of the new McDonald County campus in Jane on Jan. 10.
Photo by Ryan Land | Sports Editor
James B. Tatum, a lifelong resident of McDonald County, speaks at the grand opening of the new McDonald County campus on Jan. 10.
Ryan Land
Sports Editor

Crowder College officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Jan. 10 at the new McDonald County campus in Jane, where over 200 people attended.

Many faculty and staff members of the school, as well as the Board of Trustees, were present at the ceremony. Special guests from outside the campus included: former Crowder president and current Missouri Southern State University interim president Dr. Alan Marble, Missouri state representatives and senators, as well as McDonald County community leaders.

Speeches were given by Pam Hudson, director of the McDonald County campus; Dr. Kent Farnsworth, interim president of Crowder; as well as longtime Crowder Board of Trustees Member James B. Tatum.

During Hudson’s speech, she described a conversation between herself and a worker involving the funding for the building.

“I said ‘I have been involved both at Crowder and other places involved in fundraising for projects and this has been the first time I have ever been involved in a building project where every space has been sponsored by people,'” said Hudson in her speech.

The worker, who was affiliated with a sign company, asked Hudson, “Oh, is there a lot of Northwest Arkansas money in this building?”

“I said, ‘no there’s not,'” stated Hudson. “‘There is a lot of McDonald County money in this building.'”

Hudson wrapped up her speech explaining that the new campus would always carry the heartbeat of McDonald County, all because of the support of many local McDonald County residents.

“McDonald County will always be the essence of this place,” Hudson said.

During the ceremony, Dr. Farnsworth, who was hired last summer to serve as interim president for this current school year, honored the many people who contributed a role in the creation of the new campus.

Farnsworth also admitted in his speech he was impressed with the community’s actions and emotions of getting the building constructed.

“This building is perhaps the best example I have ever seen of a community coming together,” said Farnsworth. “In addition to the names that are above the doors, as I’ve had a chance to watch this during the last six months, you could hear the heartbeat of this county beating in this building as it came together. Everywhere you went, people asked how the building was coming along and was anxious to get in there and see it.”

Two separate ribbon cuttings were held at the conclusion of Dr. Farnsworth’s speech. James B. Tatum and Rudy Farber were a part of the first ribbon cutting, while the second cutting was for the donors of the building.

Tatum, a longtime McDonald County resident, took to the podium and expressed his emotions about the new building.

“This is amazing…awesomely so,” said Tatum with a smile.

Tatum went on to address the number one issue that prospective students face before going to college, and gave everybody in attendance the solution to that problem.

“All they needed in my experiences was to overcome a little fear,” Tatum stated. “That’s what we all should be about is helping folks take advantage of their opportunity, overcoming their fears, and we’re going to try to do the rest right here in this county.”

As rain kept the ceremony indoors, the weather did not keep Tatum from enjoying the special day in school history.

“I’m grateful for the rain,” admitted Tatum. “The Chinese say that’s a wonderful, wonderful sign. And we had it, and I felt so good about it, I thought for a moment about Gene Kelly, and I was going to jump up and sing and dance in the rain. That would have been a heck of a miracle.”

In Rudy Farber’s short speech, he mentioned a question he was asked from one of the members of the Board of Trustees, regarding whether or not he believed the new campus would happen.

“I never doubted it,” stated Farber, CEO of Community Bank and Trust.

Upon completion of the master ceremony, donors to the building were given the chance to cut the ribbon to their sponsored area of the building. The remainder of the guests were invited to tour the building, as well as enjoy refreshments, courtesy of Great Western Dining.

The new campus, which will officially be named the James B. Tatum Hall at a dedication ceremony on Jan. 19 at 2 p.m., will include six classrooms, two computer labs, a chemistry lab, a bookstore, a nursing skills lab, testing areas, a student commons area, study areas and a conference room that will sit up to 200 people.

Before construction started on the new campus, classes for McDonald County residents were held at McDonald County High School in Anderson, as well as the Hometown Bank in Jane. Nursing classes were held at a former lumberyard in Pineville.

The building was constructed by Nabholz Construction of Rogers, Ark.

On campus classes for students not involved with the nursing program will not begin until Jan. 21. Students are being advised to check their Blackboard and MyCrowder accounts for assignments in their classes. Nursing students will meet at the new campus during the first week of school, and instructors are being advised to give their students appropriate breaks due to the restroom facilities being out of order.

The new campus is located at 194 College Rd., just north of the Jane Walmart.