YAPG Donates To MMC Project

Yankton Area Progressive Growth announced that it would be gifting $1 million to Mount Marty College for the construction of an athletic fieldhouse. Pictured are, from left: Yankton Mayor Nathan Johnson, MMC Athletic Director Chris Kassin, First Dakota National Bank President Rob Stephenson, MMC President Dr. Marc Long and YAPG CEO Nancy Wenande.

Mount Marty College’s (MMC) long-awaited athletic fieldhouse is one step closer to becoming a reality.

On Tuesday, Yankton Area Progressive Growth (YAPG) donated $1 million to MMC as a show of support for the college’s major initiatives. The athletic fieldhouse project is the primary focus of the gift.

According to MMC President Dr. Marc Long, the funds are more than a gift towards the construction of the fieldhouse.

“It symbolizes a growing relationship between Mount Marty and the Yankton region that will pay dividends for both into the future,” he said. “This generous contribution will help Mount Marty students in need of learning, recreation and intercollegiate athletic space, and help us recruit and retain more students.”

A timeline isn’t yet set for when ground will be broken on the project. Press & Dakotan sportswriter Jeremy Hoeck reports that the overall project will cost $15 million.

“In the last year to 18 months, there have been a lot of businesses and individuals that have chosen to support this,” Long said. “This groundswell of support has been gratifying for us to see. Our hope is as the money comes in, we move closer to being able to announce a timeline sooner than later.”

MMC Athletic Director Chris Kassin is looking forward to the extra space the fieldhouse will provide for the school’s athletic students.

“We’re a little cramped right now,” he admitted. “Having the ability to spread out and have adequate sport space with a field turf and track will help our young student athletes flourish.”

This donation is one of the largest in YAPG’s 40-year history.

“We at YAPG so appreciate the leadership Mount Marty has shown as they expand their vision and create bold strategic plans for long-term growth and sustainability,” YAPG CEO Nancy Wenande said.

Assisting MMC with its goals will ultimately come back to benefit the Yankton community, she added.

“YAPG knows that projects like this at Mount Marty are extremely important to the entire community,” she said. “Having a fieldhouse will help with their recruitment and retention of future students and faculty, which will bring additional dollars from outside of Yankton and help boost the economy.”

YAPG voted unanimously to give the $1 million to MMC, which, as Yankton Mayor Nathan Johnson pointed out, said a lot about the organization’s relationship with the college.

“It demonstrates a trust and a belief in the importance of this Benedictine liberal arts college’s contributions to the health of Yankton,” Johnson said.

An MMC alum, Johnson stated that collaborations between entities can lead to the accomplishment of a project, referencing Dive In Yankton and the ongoing construction of West City Limits Road.

Groups coming together with a shared goal get things done, he said.

“The City of Yankton is proud to be a part of YAPG’s commitment to job growth, workforce development and overall economic development,” he said. “Mount Marty is a huge part of that effort. It brings young people to our community and gives them an education. They can then work in our businesses as employees, volunteers or interns and maybe one day, decide to make a life for themselves in Yankton.”

According to a press release, MMC contributes about $15 million to the local economy and more than 2,000 alums live within a 30-mile radius of campus.

First Dakota National Bank President Rob Stephenson echoed Johnson on MMC’s presence being a positive contribution to the Yankton community.

“At our bank, we have a lot of graduates from Mount Marty that are part of our leadership team, which we are fortunate for,” he said. “Making efforts to grow (MMC) with capital improvements and enrollment is also a great way to grow Yankton and have a positive impact on the economics of the community.

“If Mount Marty is being improved, the community of Yankton will improve.”

Those who would like to contribute to the fieldhouse fund can do so by calling MMC at 605-668-1545.

Follow @ReillyBiel on Twitter.

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