Ribbon Cut

Heartland Community College celebrates growth in Lincoln and Logan County

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[November 12, 2018]  On Thursday, May 31st, administrative staff and faculty from Heartland Community College invited the community to attend a grand open house for the opening of the new HCC Lincoln Center in Lincoln. While the college has had a presence in Lincoln for many years with a facility located in downtown Lincoln, this event was in celebration of a new location and the introduction of new educational offerings.

Heartland has moved to 2201 Woodlawn Road. The new facility offers more classroom space that is larger and equipped with the most up to date learning tools such as computers and white boards, items that have become essential in today’s learning environment.

The new facility offers a student lounge area, meeting space and space for proctoring, plus plenty of office space for administration.


Kristi Powell demonstrates new student chairs that are designed to be used sitting forward or backward.

On Thursday the celebration began with a ribbon cut, hosted by the Ribbon Cut Team at Lincoln Daily News. The turnout for the open house was so large, that HCC staff working with the ribbon cut asked that there be specific people invited to stand behind the ribbon with HCC President Rob Widmer and the Associate Director of the Lincoln Center Kristi Powell.

At the opening of the ribbon cut ceremony, comments were offered by Nila Smith, acknowledging and thanking HCC for it’s commitment to higher education and its commitment to the Lincoln and Logan County community.

The microphone was turned over to President Widmer who addressed the crowd. This is Widmer’s final year as president of the college. He will be retiring the end of June, so before giving him the mic, he was thanked for his dedication and vision and received a well-deserved round of applause from the staff and his board of trustees.

Widmer began by returning the thank you to all those he has served. He then thanked the community for their attendance. He noted that the effort to expand in Lincoln had seen a few “starts and stops” but he was excited to be at the new location, and he was confident that everyone on his board as well as staff was equally excited.

He noted that Kristi Powell is as excited as he is about the move, and he also noted that Kristi has been with HCC about as long as he has. He noted they started working with the college in the same month and have been serving HCC for well over 20 years.

The college is planning to offer a CNA program at the new facility, will be expanding its adult education offerings in Lincoln and will also be offering agricultural education.

Widmer also took the time to acknowledge the members of his board of trustees who were standing with him behind the ribbon.

He concluded offering a personal thanks to all the staff whom he said “have been so committed and so engaged.”

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The microphone was handed over to Kristi Powell who talked about how excited she was to have been a part of this accomplishment. She thanked her staff, naming each one, and expressing that they had not only worked hard to get to this day, they had been supportive and understanding of her personally as “they have been amazing, mostly putting up with me through this whole thing.”

On hand for the ribbon cut was one very special guest – President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was portrayed by Gary Simpkins of Heyworth. Simpkins is a long-time Lincoln interpreter and has visited the city of Lincoln on many occasions and has “christened the city” as Abraham Lincoln.

Simpkins said that he had been representing President Lincoln for 40 years. He first read the Gettysburg Address at a Memorial Day Service at Chenoa. He said this proclamation would then be the first Lincoln event of his 41st year.

He began speaking as himself, then read a proclamation in the character of Lincoln.

Switching to his interpretation, he then read the proclamation as President Abraham Lincoln.

After Simpkins finished community leaders present were recognized: Logan County Circuit Clerk Mary Kelley, Logan County Tourism Bureau Board Members Shawn Taylor and Gail Apel-Sasse, Lincoln Ward 4 Alderman Jeff Hoinacki and Mayor Seth Goodman.

Mayor Goodman brought up the end of the speakers congratulating HCC for their big move, but at the same time expressing that he is going to miss having the HCC staff in the downtown area, as he can see them from his office window at city hall, and he said he would miss that.

When Goodman had finished, the ribbon was cut and guests were invited to enjoy hamburgers, hot dogs, and free ice cream on the lawn of the new center. Live music was being provided and there was an inflatable play area for kids.

Tours were being given inside the building, and staff was quick and happy to lead folks through and talk about all the wonderful new offerings the college will provide to Lincoln and Logan County citizens.

The new Lincoln Center is located at 2201 Woodlawn Road. The front doors of the building lead to the United Community Bank. On the back side of the building is the main entrance to HCC. Parking for the college is also on the back side of the building.

Powell invited visitors to stop in and visit the new Lincoln Center at any time, noting that there is an ‘open door’ policy at the college, and staff will always be happy to talk to guests about the new facility, the college, and the programs offered at the Lincoln Center.

See slideshow:  Community welcomes new Heartland Community College Lincoln Center - slideshow

[Nila Smith]

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