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Doors open for addition to RLCF Children’s Center

Donors, faculty, staff, and community members gathered outside the Rend Lake College Foundation Children’s Center (RLCFCC) yesterday morning to celebrate the newest step in education on campus – the opening of the RLCFCC’s Skill Development Room.

RLC Foundation CEO Kay Zibby-Damron welcomed guests and donors to the ceremony, and provided a history for the children’s center dating back to preliminary plans in 1997. Construction began quickly on the original building thanks to two generous donations from benefactors Coyn Mateer and Marjorie Farrar, she said, and the building opened in the fall of 1998.

Fletcher Farrar, son of major donor Marjorie Farrar, prepares to officially open the RLCF Children’s Center’s new addition Thursday morning with a symbolic ribbon-cutting.
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

In 2014, Marjorie Farrar and her family made the initial donation of $100,000 designated to the Children’s Center addition, which was followed the next year with another significant gift from an anonymous donor. With the help of a few local donors, the project was fully-funded in time to open this fall. The new 1,500-square-foot Skill Development Room provides the children with an indoor recreational space and a learning library.

“We have a lot to celebrate here today. We’re celebrating dreams becoming reality,” said Zibby-Damron. “We’re celebrating the enormous generosity of a few very special friends. We’re celebrating the exceptional work of our engineer, architect, contractor, and RLC Physical Plant employees. Most importantly, we are celebrating the gift of lifelong learning that is introduced to every little boy and girl who attend our Children’s Center.”

Kay Zibby-Damron, RLC Foundation CEO, speaks to a crowd of donors, supporters, RLC staff, and community members outside the Children’s Center Thursday morning.
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

RLC President Terry Wilkerson also thanked the donors and local supporters for continuing to make learning possible, both for the children in the center and RLC students pursuing their higher education.

“The college appreciates the support from our community and the people who stepped up to invest in our future,” said Wilkerson. “I’m very proud of the addition we’ve got here. It’s not just our children’s education we’re investing in, but now our children’s children’s education. We’ve got moms and dads with children in these classrooms while they’re across campus in theirs. Rend Lake College will continue to partner with the community around us.”

The ribbon-cutting portion of the ceremony was led by Fletcher Farrar, son of long-time friend and donor Marjorie Farrar, and was attended by dozens in the audience, including children enrolled in the RLCFCC, parents, donors, RLC Foundation and Board of Trustees members, and RLC faculty and staff. RLC’s Culinary Arts program offered refreshments and light snacks as attendees took tours of the new facility.

To learn more about the RLC Foundation, contact Zibby-Damron at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1214. For information about the RLCF Children’s Center, contact Brooke May, Director of the RLCFCC, at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1393.

One-year-old Olivia Gonzalez of Valier plays on a slide in the new Skill Development Room Thursday morning while donors, community members, faculty, and staff toured the facility.
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

Aurora Drew, 3, of Benton and Iris Zettler, 1, of Sesser spent time in the new children’s library yesterday morning, located in the Skill Development Room addition.
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)