Having a state-of-the-art multi-purpose center in McCulloch County has for several years been a dream for a number of different organizations and individuals. Today, that dream is on the fast track to becoming a reality. In part two of Monday’s County Commissioner’s meeting, the Extension Program Council of the Texas Cooperative Extension Service and the McCulloch County Livestock Committee gave the commissioners an update on a multi-purpose center two years in the making. According to McCulloch County Extension Agent Jerry Kidd, the meeting was primarily an overview for the county commissioners and other groups who attended the noon meeting to update the community on where the project currently stands. Kidd admits that the Extension Program Council has been heading the project for “a couple of years now;” however, the recent development around a proposed pari-mutuel race track at the G. Rollie White Complex poses some concerns for area 4-H and FFA youth who currently utilize the facility for both county and school-related projects. “We (the Extension office and Program Council) have formed a McCulloch County Educator Foundation’a non-profit organization which is currently awaiting 501C3 confirmation from the Internal Revenue Service,” said Kidd. “Once the foundation is approved as a non-profit organization, they’ll begin searching for grants to help fund the multi-purpose center.” Kidd stated that one of the main obstacles they’re trying to overcome is getting enough in-kind services lined up prior to the construction of the facility. Preliminary plans call for the facility to house a number of “break-out meeting rooms” throughout several areas of the building capable of accommodating area youth groups and other organizations. “The center will also give us flexibility for seating anywhere from 500-1,000 people,” Kidd said. “It will be big enough to accommodate large meetings.” Extension representatives anticipate the new facility will be the largest of its kind as well as largest structure in the county capable of accommodating a large number of people. “A multi-purpose center would be a major asset to the county because it would help draw out-of-town interest,” said Kidd. “We’ll now have the capability to serve as a hosting place for large events’events that in the past were too large for any of our facilities to handle. Right now we don’t have the type of facilities that will allow those types of groups to meet.” Kidd noted that with potential horse races planned at the GRW Complex, the McCulloch County Livestock Association may also be looking for a place to relocate. “They could easily tie into the multi-purpose center,” commented Kidd. “There will be enough room to construct facilities for them as well. There are still a lot of ‘ifs’ that factor into the project, but we’re still in the early stages. “We do, however, need a facility for the entire community to draw on if it needs to. We’re not trying to take over any other organization that currently has these types of facilities, but area surveys conclude that there is a definite need for a multi-purpose center here in the county. “The more we get into the planning stage, the more feedback we get from different organizations in support and willing to assist with the project,” Kidd said. The McCulloch County Educator Foundation will not only seek grants to assist with funding but would actually operate the facility according to Kidd. No tax dollars will be utilized for the construction of the multi-purpose center. “It would not be built in any means, forms or fashion using tax dollars from either the school, city or county,” explained Kidd. “This is a stand alone project where we’re seeking in-kind services and donations to get the facility started. “Monday’s meeting was primarily to bring everyone up to speed as far as where we are at with the concept. We have progressed from the awareness stage, and now we’re ready for action. We’ve got all of our surveys back, and the only thing that we’re lacking is our 501C3 designation. Once we receive that we’ll start applying for grants,” Kidd said. Although the plans are quickly coming together, as of now, no location has been officially designated for the construction site. “Our best possibility is working with the commissioners on the property on U.S. Hwy. 190 East, just past the Cap Rock Electric building,” said Kidd. “We’re working with them and trying to come up with a lease agreement for property in that area that the county owns. We’re still in the process of negotiating that. “Our initial thought for a long-term lease agreement will result in moving the extension offices out there. It would be a big facility with our offices as well as the possibility for other organizations to function out there: possibly an indoor roping arena and livestock arena. “We don’t anticipate any problems with getting the 501C3 designation, and once we have that, we’ll be able to roll.” In the near future, the Extension Program Council will begin looking for area businesses/individuals willing to work on the project in addition to other organizations and groups. Kidd anticipates that it will require the entire community to get the multi-purpose center funded and built. “The center will be a major benefit for our community once it’s built,” said Kidd. To learn more about the project or to make a monetary contribution, Contact the Extension Office to learn more about the project and to make a monetary contribution which will be directed to the McCulloch County Educator Foundation.