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4-H ranch, Clovia are beneficiaries of $10 million upgrade effort

By Corene Brisendine

Over the past four years, 4-H supporters have been working diligently to raise more than half of a $10 million fundraising campaign by the Kansas 4-H Foundation that shifted into the public phase this month.

“We’ve been after it for a while,” said Gordon Hibbard, president of the foundation. “Our success is only because everyone has pulled together.”

The Growing Kansas Leaders capital campaign has already raised $6.9 million since its inception as a long term goal by the foundation’s board of trustees almost four years ago. Hibbard said they have not done a comprehensive campaign since the ‘80s.

“Typically, in this type of organization, they raise 50 percent of the money and then go public, but we wanted to announce this at the Kansas State Fair,” Hibbard said. “So when we announced the campaign last Saturday we had almost 70 percent of our goal met.”

Hibbard said that the foundation usually holds small fundraisers for individual projects, not like this one covering several. The campaign is divided into four main areas. Those areas are the Growing Leaders fund, Rock Springs facilities, Clovia Scholarship House, and endowments and special projects. The endowments and special projects are for the money donated where the donors request their money be put toward a specific fund or project.

“It’s a comprehensive campaign,” Hibbard said. “So some are restricting their gifts and some are not.”

One of the projects planned for Rock Springs is actually under the endowments and special projects goal. One of the trustee members plans to renovate the chapel at Rock Springs. Hibbard said the chapel is an example of a special project or directed donation where the donor has specified where and how the money donated will be spent. He said several donors like to donate for scholarships or fellowships. The campaign has designated $2 million as the goal for endowments and special projects.

Projects specifically under the $5.5 million goal for Rock Springs include renovations to the dining facility. It was built in 1962 and serves 120,000 meals a year, Hibbard said. The dining room will get new energy efficient windows, new asbestos free flooring and ceiling, and an elevator making all three levels more accessible. Behind the dining hall, they plan to add a covered activity area to hold outdoor activities during inclement weather.

“We don’t have a place to hold outdoor activities when it rains,” Hibbard said. “We used to have rain in Kansas.”

Next to the new outdoor activities patio is the planned water wheel plaza. Hibbard said little cottage stands there now, but they plan to tear down and expand the spring water feature which will allow more visitors to access the spring water. Hibbard said the spring produces 1,000 gallons of water a minute, and is the second largest natural spring in Kansas.

Another Rock Springs project is the auditorium needs some renovations, Hibbard said. The foundation has planned to replace the seats, installed in 1970 and a new stage curtain, and handicap-accessible restrooms and utilities.

Finally, the Rock Springs swimming pool will be renovated.  The pool will be renovated, including a two-story waterslide, a cool deck, and renovated bathhouse.

“The swimming pool, built in 1948, was the only Olympic size swimming pool in Kansas,” Hibbard said. “We aren’t replacing the pool, just renovating it.”

Individual clubs have been helping raise money specifically for the swimming pool and bathhouse. Hibbard said the clubs call it the “Cool Pool Project.”

The Growing Leaders Fund’s goal will use the $2 million to form new clubs and programs, recruit and train new volunteers, reach out to more diverse families, design more leadership activities for older youth, and train volunteers and staff in new technologies.

Finally, $500,000 has been set aside to renovate the kitchen and bathrooms of the Clovia Scholarship House at Kansas State University.

Jancey Hall, president of Clovia, said when the girls returned this semester and saw the new bathrooms, they all screamed with glee.

Hall said the original plan was to renovate the kitchen, originally installed when the house was built in 1967, but the pipes continually broke costing the foundation more money to keep in repair than the cost of keeping the kitchen in operation.

“We had a lot of problems with shower heads coming off the walls, show fixtures breaking, some that would only be hot, and some that would only be cold,” Hall said.

Hibbard said that while the contractors renovated the bathrooms, the entire house was also re-plumbed.

The kitchen has been pushed back until the summer of 2013. Hall said the gas stove is the original stove installed in the house, and the dishwasher needs “serious” repairs or replaced.

“Our oven is very, very old,” Hall said. “It’s 50 degrees off in temperature.”

The house was also a recipient of a directed donation, with half of the $500,000 received through a gift from Maron Moore.

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