Ground broken for Sharp Champions Center

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Ground broken for Sharp Champions Center

Dignitaries break the ground for the Sharp Champions Center. Construction should start late in May 2019.

Dignitaries break the ground for the Sharp Champions Center. Construction should start late in May 2019.

Calen Moore

Dignitaries break the ground for the Sharp Champions Center. Construction should start late in May 2019.

Calen Moore

Calen Moore

Dignitaries break the ground for the Sharp Champions Center. Construction should start late in May 2019.

By Calen Moore, Seward County Community College

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Plans for the new athletic building that will soon be built all started with a drawing on a napkin. Those simple plans are coming to life after years of planning. On April 25, Seward County Community College broke ground on campus.

The idea started when now-retired head baseball coach as well as Athletic Director, Galen McSpadden, had a vision for an indoor baseball and softball facility.

“I was sitting in a business meeting and drew up the plans for the idea on a napkin and showed it to Gary Dunnam, then we started coming up with people to make this idea a reality,” McSpadden told those attending the groundbreaking ceremony.

Students from Meadowlark Elementary meet the two biggest benefactors, Gene and Jo Ann Sharp. The children were brought to see the future of the college as the next generation of SCCC.

Originally, the building was going to be an indoor center for baseball and softball but as the plan grew, it was decided to make it for all outdoor athletics.

Benefactors noticed the athletics facilities were overcrowded, especially during the colder winter months because of the unpredictable Kansas weather.

The biggest donor, Gene H. Sharp and his wife, Jo Ann Sharp, attended the event and spoke about the joy this community has brought them, and how they would like to give back.

“I played baseball in high school and I know how important it is for a team to be equipped with everything they need all year round,” Gene Sharp said. “I saw players scooping snow off the field so they could practice and felt that this building needed to be built.”

Gene Sharp originally donated $100,000 dollars to the cause, along with several other donors in the community. However, due to a dip in the economy, many of the original donors had to leave town or simply went bankrupt or lost a vast amount of money, leaving the project back to square one.

The project was going to cost more than $2 million dollars. Gene Sharp and his son were able to put together $1 million dollars towards the project to sponsor it and bring it into fruition.

“My wife and I have lived here most of our lives and love to give back whenever we can,” Gene Sharp said.

Calen Moore
Approximately 50 people both from the community and from the college came to see the groundbreaking ceremony. The crowd listened as Gary Dunnam told the story of how the idea for an Athletics building originated.

Construction for the building should take place within the next 30 days from April 25, and phase one of the building should be complete later in the fall of 2019.

The building will be available for the whole community and used for Kids Inc. sports and other community leagues as well as college athletics.

This story was originally published on The Crusader on April 25, 2019.