There was a packed house for the formal dedication of the Dawson-Spencer Hall on the Crowder College campus in Webb City on Friday.
“We have a total of nine classrooms, two computer labs, an occupational assistance suite area and life science lab,” said Cyndi Adamson, campus director. “It is a two story building, the first story is a tornado safe room. The second floor is just the traditional second floor.”
During the dedication, Adamson gave the history of how the new addition – located at 600 S. Ellis, Webb City – came about.
“Back in 2012, Crowder received a FEMA grant to build a tornado safe room which is right here,” she said. “We were also in the planning stages of thinking that we needed to do something in Webb City and expand. But once we received the grant, Mr. Jim Dawson gave us a call and said, ‘I will give you the matching’ because we needed to come up with $300,000 in matching funds to build the safe room. That was tremendous.”
Within the safe room, the college could add several new classrooms.
“Which would be fantastic,” said Adamson. “But if we really wanted to bring new programs here to Webb City, if we really wanted to double our enrollment here, we needed a second floor. So we explained that vision and then Jim and Treva (Dawson) came back and said, ‘we believe in that vision, and we are going to give you an additional $600,000 that you can use in matching funds.’ I want to thank Jim and Treva because this would not have been possible without that and I will be forever grateful.”
Crowder College publicly announced the Dawsons’ gift on May 7, 2013, just three weeks prior to Treva’s death. The building was named for Jim and Treva Dawson and Jim’s mother’s family.
“Treva devoted her life to children and teaching,” Jim Dawson said. “She was known in the community for her passion for education. Our gift to Crowder holds a much more significant meaning for our family now. It would thrill her to know that it has inspired other donors to follow suit and lend their support.”
“It is a great day for Crowder College… it is a great day for Webb City, and it is an especially a great day for our most prized asset the students,” said Rick Butler, vice president of the board of trustees.
“Seventeen years ago, I had the honor of speaking when we opened up the old armory building, we had remodeled it, got it up in shape and we were naming that building in honor of Larry and Virginia Hickey, who have been great supporters and contributors of Crowder College. Twenty students – at that time – were here at Crowder College. We were absolutely full to capacity here. And because of this new facility, it is going to allow us to expand our classes, our curriculum.”
Elaborating on the expanding of educational opportunities, President Dr. Jennifer Methvin said, “This building is about expanding opportunities for Crowder students. Just to tell you about that expanding opportunity, as of [Thursday] afternoon, we had 904 students enrolled in Webb City, that is a 16 percent increase and we are far from done. Our credit hour increase is about 20 percent, so that expanded opportunity has started now.”
College staff and members of the Webb City, Carl Junction, Joplin and Carthage chambers of commerce gave the traditional ribbon cutting ceremony prior to those in attendance on touring the building.
Classes begin in the new Dawson-Spencer Hall Monday.