Iowa Central is a key part of the region’s economy, study shows

Bill Shea

The impact that Iowa Central Community College has on the region extends far beyond the degrees and certificates it awards to students each year.

It has an economic impact of about $217 million a year, according to a study by Ernie Goss, the MacAllister Chair and professor of economics at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

And the job training that the college provides is a “huge component to economic development,” according to Kelly Halsted, the economic development director for the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.

Former state Sen. Daryl Beall, a Fort Dodge Democrat, has witnessed the importance of the college since its beginning. He was the student body president in 1967 and in that role he joined former Fort Dodge Mayor Albert Habhab for the groundbreaking ceremony at the Fort Dodge campus.

“Iowa Central is an essential partner in providing skilled workers for area businesses, health providers and manufacturers,” Beall said. “This role must be continued and expanded to attract and keep businesses and people in our area.”

-Submitted photo

Former state Sen. Daryl Beall, of Fort Dodge, left, and retired judge and former Fort Dodge Mayor Albert Habhab were two people who manned shovels when ground was originally broken for the Iowa Central Community College campus in Fort Dodge.

-Submitted photo
Former state Sen. Daryl Beall, of Fort Dodge, left, and retired judge and former Fort Dodge Mayor Albert Habhab were two people who manned shovels when ground was originally broken for the Iowa Central Community College campus in Fort Dodge.

Beall said he’s not quite in the same good physical shape he was in when he and Habhab handled the ceremonial shovels. He added that the buildings that he and the former mayor broke ground for aren’t in top condition anymore either.

That’s why Beall said he’s publicly supporting the proposed $25.5 million bond issue that would pay for physical improvements at all of the college’s sites.

Voters in Buena Vista, Calhoun, Greene, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Sac, Webster and Wright counties will weigh in on the bond issue during a Feb. 6 referendum. To pass, the bond issue must be approved by 60 percent of those voting.

If the bond issue is approved, $3 million will be invested in the Science Building, $1 million will be invested in the Applied Science and Technology Building, and $500,000 will be invested in the Liberal Arts Building. Those are three of the original buildings on the Fort Dodge campus.

Another $6 million would be spent to build the new Student Success Center on the Fort Dodge campus. Bill Greehey, a Fort Dodge Senior High graduate who was the chief executive officer of Valero Energy Corp., has donated $3 million for the center.

An additional $3 million would be spent upgrading Decker Auditorim on the Fort Dodge campus. Remodeling the Student Services Building would be accomplished with $2 million of bond issue money.

But bond issue money would not be limited to the Fort Dodge campus. The college’s plan calls for spending $3 million for safety and security improvements at the Eagle Grove, Fort Dodge, Storm Lake and Webster City campuses. And $3 million would be spent to create new career academies that would bring college classes to high school students.

A new biofuels testing lab would be built with $2 million of bond issue money.

And a new industrial training center would be built in Storm Lake with $2.5 million from the bond issue.

The Webster City Center would receive $500,000 worth of improvements.

Full article.