One year ago, the Student Activities Center (“The Dome”) was opened for use, both as an activities center, for walking, athletic functions, and more, and as a community shelter. No one would have predicted that the building would be utilized as a shelter very quickly after opening. In January, 2017, the shelter opened during Winter Storm Jupiter, which crippled the Dodge City and Ford County area with heavy ice for several days. Community members needing warmth, showers, and food came to the Activities Center during a three day time period. The Center opened again in March during the terrible wildfires that creeped into the city limits of Dodge City out by the Western State Bank Expo Center, destroying seven homes. In May, the building opened as a shelter during an impending thunderstorm with the potential to produce a tornado and tennisball sized hail. Some of the community came during that time to shelter in place, but Dodge City was fortunate that the storm turned at the last minute and missed the city.
We are grateful to the Ford County Emergency Management, the American Red Cross, and the Salvation Army for stepping in during all three emergencies. It is a wonderful partnership between the college and the three entities that shows how working together for the common good benefits many.