Flathead Valley Community College’s ONE Campaign has met its fundraising goal of $18 million in just 18 months. Now, the school looks toward a new initiative: its Encore Campaign, which will raise an additional $3 million to expand the auditorium of the planned new College Center, to be built by 2021.
The Encore Campaign will raise money to create a larger 1,000-seat performance hall in the proposed new College Center. This will be a significant size increase from the approximately 750 seats initially planned. The expansion will require the College Center to be enlarged from 43,000 to 58,000 square feet, with the addition of accommodations for increased capacity.
FVCC President Jane Karas said that the school decided to build a bigger performance venue after conversations with community members made it clear that a larger space would be helpful.
“We spent a lot of time listening to the community,” Karas said. “And we heard from a lot of donors and community members that they would like a larger venue so we could bring in even more educational, cultural and other opportunities for the community.”
FVCC hopes that with the larger auditorium, Kalispell will be able to attract more popular acts, “the kinds of performers that stop in Missoula and Spokane and Bozeman, we’ll be able to have them up here,” Karas said.
These acts would bring visitors and the economic activity that comes along with them to the Flathead Valley, especially during times when there are fewer tourists.
“In the shoulder season, we can bring in acts,” Karas said. “They’ll be able to have more people staying in hotels, eating in restaurants. It’ll be a great way to continue to grow the economy here.”
The larger auditorium and the Encore Campaign are a continuation of the successful ONE Campaign, which was launched only a year and a half ago. The ONE Campaign consisted of two phases: Phase I, which raised $3 million for the new Broussard Library and Learning Commons, and Phase II, which raised $15 million for a new College Center.
FVCC completed Phase I of its fundraising campaign with a lead gift of $2.5 million from the Broussard family. The new Broussard Family Library and Learning Commons officially opened in June, complete with collaborative spaces for small group projects, a podcasting studio, a Makerspace and a virtual reality lab.
Now, with over $18 million, FVCC has surpassed the overall fundraising goal for the ONE Campaign. Once the school raises the additional $3 million for the Encore Campaign, FVCC will finish Phase II, with the new College Center expected to open by summer or fall of 2021.
According to Karas, the success of FVCC’s fundraising campaigns is due to the generosity of the community in the Flathead Valley.
“We’re very excited and we’re thankful to this very generous community for supporting the college and supporting our campaign,” Karas said.