The athletics practice and student activity facility at Colby Community College is gaining ground on reaching its $750,000 goal by Dec. 31. Although not the official name, the project has affectionately been coined, "The Big Blue Barn."
The estimated cost of the project is $1.5 million. At the time half of the funds are raised, the college will apply for a matching grant with plans to break ground in March 2019. Completion is anticipated around the beginning of the 2019-20 academic year, 20 years after CCC won the national wrestling championship.
The college has a tradition of success competing in NJCAA men's and women's athletics. Trojan student-athletes have also set a high standard academically. In the last academic year, 43 earned a spot on All-Academic teams by posting at least a 3.6 GPA and six teams collectively attained a 3.0 GPA.
Despite multiple accomplishments, CCC remains the only community college in Kansas that does not have on-campus athletic training facilities. Inadequate practice areas have created challenges in recruiting and preparing for competition.
The current wrestling room will not accommodate a full team. There is no indoor facility for baseball, softball, or track. These teams currently use the campus gym for practice which has left that area in a state of disrepair with little time for recreational use by non-athletes and community members.
The Big Blue Barn will be approximately 18,000 square feet and include a new wrestling room, weight room, locker room, a track around the perimeter, and a multi-purpose turfed area with drop-down batting cages.
The building is not extravagant, but it will be functional to accommodate multiple needs. Additionally, the Big Blue Barn will provide opportunities for the general student population and the local community to stay active.
"Colby Community College is going to fund the Big Blue Barn through donations and grants," said President Dr. Seth Carter. "We anticipate meeting with over 125 individual donors and also appreciate the number of alumni who have stepped in and supported the project. This is important because the facility will not be built with tax dollars. We felt it was imperative to fund it this way and be transparent to our constituents."