Midwest Energy & Communications partners with SMC athletics

Published 12:40 pm Friday, March 4, 2022

DOWAGIAC — Southwestern Michigan College announced today that Midwest Energy & Communications, of Cassopolis, has made a donation of $10,000 to the remodeling project underway to enhance athletics facilities in the Charles O. Zollar Building on the Dowagiac campus.

“We’re so grateful that Midwest Energy & Communications has seen the potential in this project and stepped up to expand our partnership,” said SMC President Dr. Joe Odenwald. “With the new video boards, LED lighting and Wi-Fi connections, this upgraded facility will be a showcase of not only their services, but also their commitment to the community.”

“At MEC, we’re dedicated to creating vibrant, relevant, and sustainable rural communities,” said Amy Pales, director of corporate communications and marketing for Midwest. “We’re excited to support SMC’s efforts to become a leader in student athletics and to help ensure that local youth have the tools they need to succeed in today’s and tomorrow’s world.”

Following the return of nationally-ranked cross country teams to competition last fall, the SMC Board of Trustees authorized the return of National Junior College Athletic Association men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball and men’s wrestling in May for Fall 2022. SMC is also starting a women’s competitive dance team, a collegiate bass-fishing team and a pep band to deepen student engagement.

To create a first-class destination venue, the overall project includes replacement of the original gymnasium floor with a new high-grade basketball and volleyball surface, replacement of the original bleachers with a new system that will meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and provide better comfort and accessibility for fans of all ages.

The project also includes installation of energy-efficient LED overhead lights, installation of a new video scoreboard and audio system, construction of new state-of-the-art locker rooms for the Roadrunners, reconfiguration of the existing locker rooms for visiting teams, the addition of an officials’ room, and construction of a second-floor suite of coaches’ offices and gathering area — with a glass wall overlooking the court — suitable for receptions, recruiting events and premium viewing experiences.

The facilities are on schedule to be ready for use by student-athletes in July 2022.

Midwest Energy & Communications provides electric, propane, and fiber internet to over 40,000 customers in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. Over the next five years, MEC will bring internet to over 30,000 additional addresses as part of its mission to end the digital divide in rural Michigan.