Businessman donates $2 million for new JCCC building
The Johnson County Community College Foundation has received a $2 million gift from Hugh L. Libby, of Mission Hills.
The gift will be used to help construct a new career and technical education building, part of the college’s largest facilities project in its history.
“Our college is extremely grateful to Hugh Libby for helping us keep student needs front and center,” said Dr. Joe Sopcich, JCCC president. “Hugh built a highly successful manufacturing business based on a respected tradition of quality and commitment to customer service. His generous gift, and others we’re receiving from our supporters in the community, will help the college make relevant student- and community-focused infrastructure changes without raising the mill levy or tuition.”
The son of a welder and a hairdresser, Libby describes himself as a practical man.
From his early metal shop training in high school, he went on to create his own profitable future in manufacturing.
He owned Libby Corporation, with two manufacturing facilities in Kansas City, Mo. There, employees made military generators and starters for fighter jets, among other items.
With this gift to JCCC, Libby hopes to extend his values of diligence and pride in a job well done to the next generation of technicians and craftsmen.
“There’s a real need for the technology center because I think a lot of young people are graduating high school, and they’re not really prepared, or not that interested in a four-year degree,” Libby said. “Some of them are interested, but then they come out of college, having incurred a lot of debt, and they still can’t find a job.”
Instead, Libby explained, those students could have entered a career program and entered the workforce more quickly.
“They come out of school and earn a good pay rate, then they go up the scale, then it’s possible for them to start their own business. It’s quite a lucrative future for many of them,” he said.
The $2 million gift from Libby is part of a private funds drive the JCCC Foundation has initiated to support the JCCC board-approved $102.6 million multi-year campus transformation initiative.
Recently, the JCCC Foundation received a $10 million gift from the Sunderland Foundation for this facilities project.
The new career and technical education building will be west of the Gymnasium. At just under 70,000 square feet, the facility will house many of the industrial technology programs currently found in the Arts and Technology Building.
This includes automotive technology, electrical technology, automation engineer technology/industrial maintenance and heating, ventilation and air conditioning training.
The new building also will include space for continuing education for industrial programs to respond to workforce needs.
Other highlights of the initiative, which are part of the project’s second phase, include:
Renovation and expansion of the ATB and Welding Laboratory Building (WLB) locations to further strengthen industrial technology offerings such as construction management and welding;
Creation of an enhanced “campus front door,” which includes a re-facing of the Student Center, upgrades to the athletics facilities, and re-grading of surrounding roads and parking;
Consolidation of five JCCC academic resource centers to the first floor of the Billington Library for better student access; and
Renovations of space throughout campus into active learning classrooms.
JCCC selected design and construction professionals to work with college stakeholders in planning and constructing the buildings and making the improvements.
The college anticipates all buildings and renovation projects to be completed by 2020.
For more information about the project, contact Chris Gray at 913-469-7623.
If interested in making a gift, contact Kate Allen at 913-469-3835.