News & Events




Press Release



October 19, 2010


Largest ever gift to Cowley College to make indoor practice facility a reality


Indoor Practice FacilityThanks to the largest ever donation to Cowley College courtesy of Major League Baseball player and 1997 graduate of Cowley College, Travis Hafner, Cowley College’s Board of Trustees approved construction on an indoor practice facility, which will be built south of the school’s baseball field and west of the track and field parking lot.

The Board approved the resolution at a cost of $3.27 million. Along with Hafner's lead donation, money will also be raised through a newly implemented capital campaign. There will be no increase in property tax or mill levy to fund the project. However, the college will issue certificates of participation to allow them to pay for the project over time.

The facility will feature a multi-purpose area, batting cages, weight facility, coaches offices, athletic training room, a pair of conference rooms, as well as locker rooms and restrooms.

With the addition of the track and field and cross country teams in 2001, and the soccer teams in 2008, Cowley has been in need of an additional practice facility, along with the school’s recreation building.

Cowley College athletic director, Tom Saia, who has helped build the Tiger athletic program into one of the top junior college programs in the nation, has dreamed of having an indoor facility for many years.

"This will be a great recruiting tool not only for our student athletes, but for students as well," Saia said. “This will help put us at the top of recruiting in-state and out of state student athletes.”

The facility will be utilized by all 15 of Cowley’s athletic teams.

Hafner, who was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 31st round of the 1996 amateur draft, has put together a stellar nine-year major league career.

Prior to making it to the big leagues, Hafner helped lead the 1996 Tiger baseball team to the program’s first trip to the NJCAA College World Series and a record of 51-13.

He followed up the success of his freshman season by leading the Tiger baseball team to the first of back-to-back national championships in 1997. Hafner, who was named a Third-Team All-American, still holds the school-record for runs batted in in a season (82), runs batted in in a career (161), doubles in a season (21), and doubles in a career (36).

After one season with the Rangers, Hafner was traded to the Cleveland Indians. In nine big league seasons, Hafner has belted 176 home runs, and driven in 603 runs, while batting .281.

Hafner’s best season came in 2006, when he batted .308 with a career-high 42 home runs and 117 runs batted in.

Hafner is well known for his generosity as witnessed by his donation to the indoor practice facility. He also regularly checks in with his former baseball coaches, Dave and Darren Burroughs, as well as Saia.

"Travis wanted to do this for Dave (Burroughs) and Darren (Burroughs) because he appreciates what Cowley did for him," Saia said. “Travis never forgot about Cowley. He is such a genuine, great person. I am proud to be associated with him.”

John Haas, president of Ranson Financial Consultants was on hand to answer any questions from the Board.

In other matters, the Board:

  1. Saw Cowley president Dr. Patrick J. McAtee present a gift to Starr McLeod of Girard for being named October Student of the Month.
  2. Held a 20-minute executive session to discuss property acquisition, and consult with legal counsel.
  3. Heard an update on Dr. McAtee and the Board of Trustees’ meeting with area Cowley County legislators last Thursday. The meeting was held in the President’s Dining Room on the Arkansas City campus. Included in the discussion was the pending legislation on technical education funding.
  4. Discussed the Community College National Legislative Summit, which will be held Feb. 13-16 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. David Gregory, Meet the Press moderator, will be the keynote speaker.
  5. Approved the Policy and Procedure Approval policy, which addresses the process for policy approval for revisions and updates.
  6. Viewed a fall enrollment report that indicates 20th day full-time equivalency was 3,038, which is up from 2,668 at this time last year. A total of 1,142 Cowley County residents registered for classes and there were 16 foreign countries represented, compared to 12 last year.
  7. Received an academic update, which showed the American Sign Language I class was modified by the academic affairs council and will be provided via the business and industry division.
  8. Discussed the Ford hybrid car the automotive department acquired for teaching hybrid repair through a Department of Commerce grant.
  9. Discussed the Non-Destructive Testing program, which will be offered online starting in January. The courses will be available online with a required two week face-to-face practicum at the conclusion of the program.
  10. Submitted for first reading the Cowley County Community College Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame Permanent Endowment Fund.
  11. Received a letter of resignation from Meagan L. Yakelis as library assistant, effective Nov. 5.
  12. Approved the decision to have Kathy Witte, accounts payable specialist, move from the business office to fill the vacancy created by Megan L. Yakelis’ resignation as library assistant.
  13. Approved the employment of Beth Ferguson as accounts payable specialist, effective Oct. 19.