Ozarka president, wife make contribution to furnish new Student Services Center

By Lisa Burnett Published December 1, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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From the left, Richard Dawe, Ozarka College president; Chris Dawe; and Connie Moser and Mike Watson, Ozarka College Foundation Board members and capital campaign co-chairs, stand with a check that represents a recent contribution by the Dawes to the college.

MELBOURNE — During the season that calls for giving, Ozarka College president Richard Dawe and his wife, Chris, are doing what they can to make sure students at Ozarka College in Melbourne have a welcoming environment in the newest addition to the campus.

Dawe, president of Ozarka College, and his wife have made a $25,000 contribution to furnish the college’s new Student Services Center, expected to be finished by, or slightly before, the start of the spring 2015 semester. The couple’s contribution is part of the Student Services Center Capital Campaign.

“I believe it’s important for someone in my position to make a personal commitment,” he said. “We wanted to take advantage of this opportunity … to show a deeper commitment to the college.”

He said the contribution will help provide the new building with a more inviting atmosphere.

“It will be for the Student Services Center lobby and corridor,” he said. “It’s a large, open space [that will be] used for students and community events.”

Officials ceremonially broke ground for the Student Services Center on Sept. 18. The 18,560-square-foot building will house student services, study areas, community meeting rooms, a video conferencing center, banquet space and a culinary learning lab.

Along with housing student services such as registration and advisement, the new building will feature a cafe where culinary students will have a setting to showcase the skills they are learning at Ozarka.

“We want to make the [Student Services Center] a place the students can go and learn and socialize,” he said. “It will be more of a welcoming, developmental college environment.”

Dawe said he has seen colleges throughout the state that are known as “destination colleges” because they attract students who are in the process of choosing a school.

“That’s a change we need to make as we evolve,” he said.

Dawe said construction on the project will officially begin Jan. 2, and the building is expected to be completed 330 days after construction starts.

The $3-million building is being paid for by the sale of $2.9 million in bonds, and a sustained tax in Melbourne was passed to pay for the bonds, Dawe said in September. The 3/8-cent sales tax was the first tax in the state put in place for a college.

“We’re looking forward to seeing community events and having a space for the community [to gather],” he said. “I’m excited to see our students able to get all of their student services in one place.”

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online News Editor Lisa Burnett can be reached at lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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