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Anonymous donor gives $600,000 for CFCC Levy Center

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By Jeff M. Hardison

Central Florida Community College announced its plan to raise $1.5 million from the local community, which will generate state funding for its $8 million to $9 million permanent facility in Levy County.

The kickoff announcement was on Feb. 19 at Drummond Community Bank in Chiefland. On Feb. 22, CFCC President Charles "Chick" Dassance spoke about the plans.

An anonymous donor gave $600,000 to CFCC for the new Levy Center, Dr. Dassance told members and guests of the Greater Chiefland Area Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 22.

Even before the kickoff event on Feb. 19, another $40,000-plus had been pledged, bringing the total funds committed as of Feb. 22 to $790,000.

Jack and Loy Ann Mann previously donated 15.4 acres of property for the permanent CFCC Levy Center. The land is about five miles north of Chiefland on the west side of U.S. Highway 19. Dassance said a sign marks the spot now.

CFCC Director Bob Hastings was available at the Chamber event to answer questions too. Dassance said Hastings pushed for the permanent Levy Center to be a top priority for CFCC after a task force was formed three years ago.

With the advent of Tri-County Hospital, Progress Energy Florida's possible nuclear power plant and other industry coming to the area, Dassance said the community college plays an important role in helping the area's workforce prepare. Dr. Rayanne Giddis, CFCC Levy Center director, said the college has programs for certified nursing assistants, emergency medical technician and paramedics the Levy Center already.

There are classes at CFCC's other campuses for licensed practical nurses and registered nurses now, Dassance said.

There is a potential for obstetrics clinical space to be used at the future Tri-County Hospital when it and the new Levy Center come to fruition, Dassance said.

While the hospital is on a mandated deadline from the state, CFCC's opening is dependant on when the funds are donated from the area. If the $1.5 million goal for the future CFCC Levy Center is achieved by February 2009, construction is anticipated to begin in late 2009 or early 2010, Dassance said. He joked that if someone had a check for $700,000 at the Feb. 22 Chamber meeting, it would greatly expedite the project.

All joking aside, Dassance said he hopes people will want to help this effort by donating money, because CFCC is "your college in Levy County," he said.

While expanding classroom and making more lab space available, Lisa Lombardo, CFCC Foundation major gifts officer noted, the permanent college facility also will enhance state-of-the-art accommodations available to the community for social, cultural and professional gatherings.

For more information about the Levy Promise for the Future campaign, contact Lombardo at 352-854-2322, ext. 1427, or visit http://www.cfccfoundation.org/promise.