It feels as if we have been doing some kind of update in the building or to the building fairly consistently for quite some time now. I suppose that is to be expected when you have a large, active and well used property like The Leadership Center. While not all, a majority of these updates have come about due to a loan through the USDA with community support from Cornerstone Bank and Pinnacle Bank. We are so grateful to those who have worked alongside us to help make all of this happen. With projects on the USDA loan side of things and a number of projects taking place that have been mentioned through our fundraising efforts, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you all the things that have been happening, the updates that have been made and how the support of many has been put to great use. I also want to share with you where we are still seeking support as well as what is left to do with our USDA project.
First, let’s break down what is being covered in the $1.3 million USDA Remodel/Update Loan program which started in late 2014. Here is what is completed:
- A new membrane roof over the gym, pool and Lakeside meeting rooms was installed.
- Installation of new carpet throughout Lakeside, the conference rooms and the south hallways from the gym to Lakeside.
- New sidewalk poured along with portions repaired.
- New HVAC Units on top of gym.
- A tilting skillet and range were purchased, refurbished and installed in our kitchen.
- Kitchen Phase 1: cement pad poured, new walk-in fridge installed, new ovens installed and the existing walk-in fridge/freezer was converted back to a walk-in freezer.
- Kitchen Phase 2: new HVAC units (4) installed along with updated duct work and venting, a new hood system and fire suppression was put in along with new LED lights and ceiling grid installed. The kitchen also got painted.
Yet to be completed on USDA project:
- Kitchen Phase 3: new stainless steel cabinetry and counters.
- Kitchen Phase 4: new roof over kitchen.
- Kitchen Phase 5 (final): new grilling pad, trash pad and employee parking.
Now for all the other projects that have been completed during the same window of time as the USDA program:
- Accent walls painted in Kiewit Lodge and new trim. (Funded through Go Big Give.)
- Update to linens in Kiewit Lodge. (Funded through Go Big Give.)
- 2 major updates to Wi-Fi throughout our lodge buildings. (The first was funded through a grant from Farm Bureau and the 2nd in partnership with Hamilton Telecommunications.)
- New HVAC units on Mather East & West. (Partially funded through the Evening Stroll and the Harvest Gala.)
- New lighted sign installed in front of building. (Partially funded from a gift from T & M.)
- Converted entire property to city sewer.
- 8 Security cameras and security system installed. (Partially funded through the Evening Stroll and the Harvest Gala.)
- New windows in the upstairs gym and conference room. (Funded through Go Big Give.)
- Room 101 was updated with a new bed, linens, chairs and decor to serve as a honeymoon suite during weddings or a suite during special events. (Funded through Go Big Give.)
- Update television cable and fiber to expand viewing in the conference room. (Funded through Go Big Give.)
- Addition of kayaks and canoes for guests to use as well as 4 sets of horse shoe pits, giant Jenga, ladder golf, and totes of board games and puzzles for groups to enjoy. New basketballs, dodge balls and volleyballs have also been purchased. (Funded through Go Big Give.)
- Conference room update: paint and new ceiling tiles.
- New signage monitor installed in Lobby. (Funded through Go Big Give.)
- Consultation area set up to allow guests and staff an area to consult on events and meetings.
- Major well head repair along with well panel update. (Partially paid for with Hamilton Community Foundation grant.)
- The pool floor was repainted and sealed.
- Ted Ward Lodge roof replaced with steel roof after major wind and storm damage totaled it. Repair not covered by insurance. (Partially funded Go Big Give, the Evening Stroll, the Harvest Gala and a partnership with Paschke Brothers Construction.)
- Computers in business office updated. (Partially funded through a partnership with Hamilton Telecommunications.)
- New projectors and a Bose speaker purchased for use by guests. (Funded through Go Big Give.)
- New lapel mic purchased to replace old, damaged one for use by guests.
- Electricity was put out on the island along with three new lights (island, walking path entry and sand volleyball courts) in partnership with NPPD. (Partially funded through the Evening Stroll and the Harvest Gala.)
- Removed and replaced nearly 400 feet of tree line on the northeast portion of our property line. The dead and unhealthy cedars were removed and replaced with Blue Spruce and Chanticleer Pear Trees. The Red Dogwoods will be planted this spring. (To be funded through Project Tree Line.)
- Large amounts of trees have been cleaned up or removed from around the pond and property to continue the beatification of our property.
- Flower urns planted and installed on each end of the bridge. (Funded through Go Big Give.)
- Solar power lights put out by pond to guide guests. (Funded through Go Big Give.)
- LED lights installed on the outside of the gym and Lakeside to help with guests safety. (Partially funded through the Evening Stroll and the Harvest Gala.)
- Lights installed to shine on flag. (Funded through Go Big Give.)
- Replacing plants in flowerbeds with native Nebraska plants (partnership with Prairie Plains Research Institute.)
- New website…you’re on it right now. (Partially funded by a Hamilton Visitors Committee grant.)
- The purchase of some necessary catering ware to use throughout the building and offsite now that we also have our catering licence. (Funded through Go Big Give.)
- Kiewit Lodge headboards sanded and stained. (Funded through Go Big Give Funds and Evening Stroll.)
- A number of Kiewit Lodge rooms have had new HVAC units installed. (Partially funded through Go Big Give.)
- Installation of USB ports in Kiewit Lodge Rooms. (Funded through Go Big Give.)
- New LED lights in Pool & Gym ($16,000.00)
- Project Tree Line ($9,000 of $10,000.00)
- Seeman Hall Roof (Materials donated by Paschke Brothers. Labor: $8,000.00)
- Linens and USB Updates to Ted Ward Lodge ($6,000.00)
Looking to the future, we’re always looking to see how we can improve our guests experiences. We also have to consider the fact that with a property our size (43.5 acres), we are going to have necessary and unexpected updates to make too.
Looking forward, here are just a few of the improvements or updates we hope to or will need to make:
- Updated technology to tie our fire alarms into an automatic notification system that notifies the fire department and key staff.
- Installing 9-1-1 phones in the gym and at each of the cabins along with AEDs.
- New divider walls in Lakeside.
- The addition of a fenced in outdoor event space off the north side of our building.
- Four additional cameras for security.
- To finish the outdoor lighting update on Mather and Ted Ward Lodge.
- New windows in the business office.
- Lodge room furniture including chairs, desks, luggage racks and other amenities such as irons/ironing boards, blow dryers, coffee pots and televisions.
- Kiewit Lodge: replacing full size beds with queen sized beds, frames and linens.
- Meeting room chairs and tables along with table skirting and linens.
- Updated meeting room technology including sound systems, projectors, drop down screens, media tablets and televisions.
- Outdoor recreational updates include another dock, outdoor seating, two more bonfire rings, more picnic tables, as well as potentially a playground, soccer goals, and/or disc golf.
- Install educational identification signage in the prairie.
- Indoor recreational updates include new ping pong tables, fixing the sauna, speakers with aux/bluetooth capabilities in the gym and pool areas as well as putting in a children’s play area.
- Catering: a catering vehicle as well as mobile catering ware.
- Installing televisions in the fitness room, conference room and upstairs gym.
- Installing wooden blinds on all windows in Mather, Mather East, Mather West, Lobby, Conference Room and the business office.
To list out all the things we’ve been able to do over the last four years is humbling, to say the least. We also know that none of this would be possible without so many kindly giving of themselves and their resources. This spirit of giving has been reiterated over and over again as you look at our incredible history. For those of you just being introduced to our work, and there are a few, The Leadership Center is a 501(3)(c) non-profit owned and operated by the Nebraska Vocational Agricultural Foundation (NVAF) serving the FFA, numerous groups, schools, families, businesses and individuals by providing affordable meeting, lodging and food services. For more on our history, click here or here.
Should you be interested in donating, there are numerous ways to give including:
- Go Big Give on May 3, 2018.
- Project Tree Line or click here to download information.
- Attend one of our events: The Evening Stroll on July 14, 2018 or The Harvest Gala on November 17, 2018. Both are held at The Leadership Center. Call 402-694-3934 and for more information.
- Other giving options include:
- Gifts of Cash
- Gifts of Commodities
- Bequests, Memorials, & Honor Gifts
- Stocks, Bonds, and Mutual Funds
- Land or Gifts that Can Be Used or Sold
Should you have any questions about the projects we have going on here at The Leadership Center or you would like to to see them in person, do not hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to share what we have going on.
To all who have supported us or continue to support us, thank you. Thank you so much for your kindness and investment.
Have a great day.
Maile Ilac Boeder, IOM, Executive Director
Click here to see past donors.
To view gallery, click on picture below.