$10 Million Gift for JCCC Capital Plan

The Johnson County Community College Foundation announced today that it had received a $10 million lead gift from the Sunderland Foundation to jump-start the largest campus transformation project in the nearly 50-year history of the college. Dubbed The Sunderland Challenge, it’s is a matching gift to encourage additional support, and will help finance the new Career and Technical Education Center, the college said in a news release.

The gift is part of a fund-raising drive the foundation launched after the JCCC board approved a program of $102.6 million multi-year campus improvements.

“Our facilities must be innovative, flexible and functional,” said JCCC President Joe Sopcich. “This plan provides a blueprint for the future, for making wise decisions about building and renovation projects with one goal in mind: ensuring that we keep our students’ needs front and center as we invest for the future.”

Additional private donations will also help hold down property taxes, said Greg Musil, chairman of the JCCC Board of Trustees. “We’re altering our campus landscape to cultivate innovative learning and engagement opportunities for students, while integrating the interactive needs of our award-winning faculty and staff,” he said. “From a fiscal standpoint, it’s been a goal of the board to complete our campus transformation initiative without raising the mill levy on taxpayers and without increasing tuition for our students.”

The new, 70,000-square-foot career and technical education building will be located west of the gymnasium, and will be home to many of the industrial technology programs now in the Arts and Technology Building. Among them are automotive technology, electrical technology, automation engineer technology/industrial maintenance and heating, ventilation and air conditioning training. The new building also will include space for continuing education for industrial programs to respond to work-force needs.

The overall improvement plan also calls for a 37,000-square-foot Fine Arts and Design Studios on the east side of the campus,  near the Carlsen Center, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and the Wylie Hospitality and Culinary Academy. Among its other goals, the news release said, the second phase of the project will entail:

  • Renovation and expansion of the ATB and Welding Laboratory Building (WLB) locations to further strengthen industrial technology offerings such as construction management and welding;
  •  Creation of an enhanced “campus front door,” which includes a re-facing of the Student Center, upgrades to the athletics facilities, and re-grading of surrounding roads and parking;
  •  Consolidation of five JCCC academic resource centers to the first floor of the Billington Library for better student access; and
  •  Renovations of space throughout campus into active learning classrooms.


The Sunderland Foundation was established in 1945 by Lester T. Sunderland, who served as president of the Ash Grove Cement Company for 33 years and was a leader in the cement industry. It has often supported brick-and-mortar projects, awarding grants to nonprofits in the Kansas City region and other areas where the Ash Grove Cement Company does business.