Snead State Community College welcomed guests, alumni, employees, and students to the Open House and Ribbon Cutting celebration of the newly renovated McCain Student Center.
“We have been waiting for this day for several years. This is a very exciting time on our campus,” said Snead State President Dr. Joe Whitmore. “The reason we’re here is to rededicate this building and to remember a building we tore down a few years ago – the SUB.”
The McCain Center was vacated in 2018 and reopened in November 2021. The renovations addressed structural and HVAC problems with the facilities while modernizing the design. The Center houses campus offices including Student Services, Admissions, Financial Aid, Business Office, Recruiting, Campus Engagement, and Information Technology. Conference rooms and meeting space were added to both floors, while a banquet room was also included in the design for the first floor. The first floor also has a gathering space for students.
Snead State Ambassador Kaleb Driskill said he was excited to be a part of history with the rededication of the McCain. “It’s been amazing here at Snead, and if anything, this building represents how much (the College and employees) truly care for us. This connection we have with (the faculty and staff) means a lot to me, and I know it means a lot to my fellow Ambassadors as well. This will be something I’ll always remember.”
Alabama Senator Clay Scofield offered his congratulations to the College for not only the rededication of the McCain Student Center but also for the College’s impact on the community.
“There’s so much going on at Snead State, and it’s a testament to the leadership of Dr. Whitmore. One thing that I’m proud of with Snead is that it’s not just that community college is in the name. Snead is an integral part of the community and this area, and it’s evident how many people care about this institution by the number of people here tonight,” Senator Scofield said.
SSCC History Instructor Dr. Grover Kitchens shared the history of the McCain Center as well as the former Student Union Building as part of the celebration.
“When Snead State joined the state two-year college system in 1967, the institution began to grow. By 1973, the school budget exceeded $1.7 million, and by 1975, Dr. Virgil McCain had amassed $850,000 to construct not only a library but a learning resource center. The building was named after Dr. Virgil McCain, who had been president of Snead Junior College from 1954-1959. He left to be president of Athens State University, but later returned to Snead.
“The McCain Learning Resource Center was occupied by 1977, and the dedication occurred on Jan. 28, 1978. The building became a lasting legacy to his dedication for education and for Snead. Today, this building represents the leadership of Dr. McCain,” said Dr. Kitchens.
The newly renovated McCain Center includes a student gathering area to replace the Student Union Building that was demolished due to structural and safety concerns. The SUB originally served as the College’s gymnasium that was used for both ball games, as well as student activities. The seating was in the balcony and was accessed by four spiral staircases. When the Plunkett-Wallace Gymnasium was constructed, the original gymnasium no longer hosted ball games, but continued to serve as a place for student activities. To pay homage to the College’s history of the SUB, one of the spiral staircases, as well as a portion of the floor, is on display in the student area of the new McCain Center.
To close the rededication ceremony, Dr. Whitmore quoted verses from Proverbs 24:3-4: “A house is built by wisdom, and it is established by understanding; by knowledge the rooms are filled with every precious and beautiful treasure.”
“My vision for what this building would be is a building where all of the space would be filled with ‘riches’ for our students to give them better lives and better opportunities, to give them the chance to continue their education elsewhere, to get a job, to contribute to our society and our community, and to be able to give back and keep that circle going,” said Dr. Whitmore.