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Lake Region State College:

Celebrating 75 years

Page 15

Welcome to the Leevers Welcome Center!

W

e

are delighted with this new

campus resource. We hope

you are pleased, as well.

An attractive and more func-

tional entrance had long been a

dream of college planners. Shortly

after the auditorium project was

finished in 2000, Bob and Carol

Leevers stepped forward with a

generous gift to launch an initia-

tive for a new entrance. As plans

evolved, the entrance came to be

known as the

Welcome Center

.

Now, just over three years

after fund-raising was begun,

the Leevers Welcome Center has

opened its doors. All who come

for programs in the Robert Faw-

cett Auditorium or attend lectures,

recitals, community meetings,

and other special events use the

Welcome Center. Visitors espe-

cially appreciate the improved

access to assistance the Welcome

Center provides when they come

through the college’s front door.

The Welcome Center Project

involved remodeling office and

entrance space and adding new

space. The president’s office was

reconfigured freeing space for

foundation operations.

Inside and out, the Welcome

Center gives the college a distinc-

tive collegiate look and feel which

complements its educational

mission. With its tower of historic

bells, engraved marble flooring,

sparkling chandelier, and wel-

coming environment, the center

sends the strong message that our

community is proud of its college!

We are equally proud of the com-

munity of donors who sponsored

this new resource. Over four hun-

dred individuals, businesses, and

organizations contributed over

$380 thousand.

It is our hope that for years

to come, all who enter the front

doors of LRSC will enjoy the

Leevers Welcome Center and

benefit from their time on cam-

pus. We want to thank all who

provided encouragement and

financial support throughout this

initiative. You helped us believe

we could succeed! Your support

also helps us understand how, as

a community college, LRSC truly

is

the community’s college

. ●

— Grand Opening, April 2004 —

T

he ornate chandelier which graces the foyer of the Robert

Fawcett Auditorium was salvaged from the wreckage of Devils

Lake’s Grand Opera House in 1971. Strong’s Excavating, Inc. was

contracted to demolish the 1909 structure to make way for new

downtown parking. During its prime, the Grand Opera House

and its chandelier hosted Vaudeville shows, talent shows, and

celebrities, including the John Philip Sousa Band, the Lawrence

Welk Orchestra, William Jennings Bryan, and President William

Howard Taft. Later, the Grand was known as the American Legion

Building and provided space for public meetings and perfor-

mances. Appreciating its beauty and historical significance, Jim

Strong stored the chandelier in a warehouse in hopes that one day

it could again brighten a special theater in the Lake Region.

LRSC is pleased to accept the gift of this lovely chandelier in

honor of Earl and Helen Strong, founders of Strong’s Excavating.

The gift is made to the college through Community College Foun-

dation by James and Margaret Strong, Raymond and Judy Strong,

and David and Phyllis (Strong) Nelson.

— Robert Fawcett Auditorium Grand Opening, December 1, 2000 —

Welcome Center bells

T

he bells in the Welcome Center

bell tower have been donated

by various people from the Lake

Region. The bells are described

here in the order in which they are

hung, from top to bottom.

Osnabrock Public School bell

Osnabrock Public School was

demolished in September of 2002,

but many historical pieces were

saved, including this bell. It was

donated by alumni and friends

of Osnabrock School with special

thanks to liaisons Andy Wakeford,

Kent Wakeford, and John Klai.

St. Thomas Church Bell

This bell traveled extensively

and served many purposes be-

fore finding its final home here at

LRSC. It first hung in a log church

in Potosi, Wisconsin. It later

served as a dinner bell for a hotel

in Potosi and for Mary Lou Kow-

alski’s father, Arthur Grosser, in

the 1930s. The bell was donated by

Mary Lou and John Kowalski.

Steam Engine Bell

Acquired from a Great North-

ern Railway employee as payment

for bricklaying work, this bell

belonged to Oscar Lindgren. It ar-

rived at Minnewaukan, North Da-

kota, in 1955 when Oscar’s niece,

Mavis Konzak, invited him to take

a job as a bricklayer. After nearly

being lost to the Devils Lake flood

in 2001, the bell was donated by

Mavis Konzak in memory of her

husband Peter Adrian Konzak.

South Minnewaukan Township

School bell

In 1901, South Minnewaukan

Township school district #30 built

three frame schoolhouses. Each

had a bell tower. During the 1960s,

school #1 ws razed, and its bell

became the property of Edgar

and Lena (Olson) Hefti who later

passed it on to their daughter

Lois and husband Lloyd Jones.

Lloyd moved the bell to the Jones

farm near Webster, North Dakota

where it was used to call children

and farm workers for meals. The

bell was donated by Lois H. Jones.