The East Central College Foundation has a special gift for the college as its 50th anniversary celebration comes to a close.

The Foundation board will purchase a large LED electronic message sign that will be erected at the corner of Highway 50 and Prairie Dell Road.

The college will be able to announce events, promote activities and recognize students and staff on the sign, said Bridgette Kelch, Foundation executive director.

“We are still working on the details of the size, height, width — right now all we know is that it may be 25 to 35 feet tall and the rest will be determined,” said Kelch.

“The ECC Foundation is very excited to be able to gift the college a sign that we feel will provide information quickly, easily and in an appealing way,” she said. “The sign will give ECC the ability to interact and share valuable information with students, faculty and community members on a dime. 

“We hope that the sign will help identify the campus and engage visitors and the community,” she added.

Janet Hoven, Foundation board president, said there was a strong sentiment among present and past Foundation board members, and from supporters throughout community, to acknowledge the special 50-year milestone anniversary of the college with the making of an equally significant, and timely, commemorative gift.

The Foundation asked the college to submit its birthday wish list, Hoven said.

There were three items on the wish list, each with varying cost, she said. The other two items were repairing the walking trail on the campus and a designated, usable quad area. 

“The Foundation considered each and chose the sign,” Hoven said.

On Oct. 24, the full board, by unanimous vote, approved the sign as the gift and it authorized the college to pursue design, specifications and final bids.

Hoven said the Foundation expects the college to make a presentation to the board for final approval in early 2020.

Kelch noted a grant may be sought for the trail repairs and the quad area could possibly be funded by a future capital campaign.

ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer said the sign project was shared with the board of trustees Monday night.

“Everyone is very grateful and excited,” Bauer said. “A sign has been on our wish list for many years. Through the generosity of the Foundation, this wish will become a reality.”

Once in place, Bauer said the sign will be “invaluable” for promoting the college.

“Some 25,000 people a day will see what’s happening at East Central,” he noted.

The East Central College Foundation was established to support the growth and development of East Central College in whatever ways might be beneficial to students, staff and the facility. It solicits and receives tax deductible gifts which are managed for the benefit of the college and its students. It is chartered as a nonprofit 501(c)-(3) organization for educational purposes.