Cowley College

Sumner Campus

In The News — Sumner Campus

Sumner Campus receives new CNC machines

Cowley College’s Sumner Campus Technology and Innovation Center in Wellington, KS, recently received three new Okuma M460 CNC machines.

The state of the art machinery will help Machine Tool Technology/CNC Mill students prepare for a career in manufacturing or the agricultural field.

For more information on programs offered at Cowley College’s Sumner Campus please call 620-441-6555 or visit the main Sumner Campus page.

Gearing up for the opening

With a ribbon cutting ceremony planned for August 9 at Cowley College's new Sumner Campus Technology and Innovation Center, the college is staying busy moving in equipment in advance of the fall semester. Tina Grillot, associate vice president for business and industry, said the Tect Aerospace Machining and Fabrication Laboratory recently moved in several CNC Lathes, FANUC industrial robots, Square Wave TIG Welders, and 4x4 CNC Plasma Cutting Tables. read more

Buddy Curry brings wealth of experience to Cowley's Agriculture program

Looking for someone with a vast amount of experience to lead Cowley College’s new Agriculture program at its Sumner Campus, the college found that individual in Buddy Curry. Curry has taught and coached on both the community college and university level from Texas to Kansas. He has received numerous awards including Livestock Judging Coach of the Year, Outstanding Faculty and Outstanding Advisor, and eight times has been named Who’s Who Among American Teachers. read more

TECT Aerospace pledges $150,000 for naming rights at Sumner

With excitement looming for the opening of the new Cowley College Sumner Campus Technology and Innovation Center in the fall of 2018, and the Short General Education Center in the fall of 2019, TECT Aerospace in Wellington, KS, has announced its pledge of $150,000 for naming rights at the Sumner Campus. read more

Phase 1 and Phase 2

Phase 1 — click here for a PDF of the Phase 1 document Phase 2 (Final) — click here for a PDF of the Phase 2 (Final) document


Cowley College - Sumner Campus - Timeline


Sumner County Board of Trustee Seat Overview - Cowley College

New Sumner County Board of Trustee Seat Overview that Dr. Rittle will be hosting in Wellington on Monday, May 1st, 5:30-6:30 at the Sumner County Economic Development Center


Governor Signs Cowley College Board of Trustee Bill

Allowing for Election of One Sumner County Resident to the Board

Topeka, KS – April 6, 2017 –Governor Sam Brownback signed into law House Bill 2164 on Thursday, April 5, 2017. The bill allows Cowley College to add one trustee position to the board from Sumner County.

“We’re pleased each of our local legislators have supported this initiative from day one, which has culminated in the Governor singing this historic bill,” said Dr. Dennis C. Rittle, president of Cowley College. “Now, we’ll begin our work to inform Sumner County residents about this opportunity.”

For those interested in learning more about the elected position, Dr. Rittle will host a one-hour orientation session to cover expectations for Cowley College Board of Trustees and to respond to frequently asked questions. The orientation will occur on May 1 from 5:30-6:30PM in the Sumner County Economic Development Office in downtown Wellington.

“Ensuring representation for Sumner County taxpayers was a board priority. We’re pleased this bill was supported by the Governor and look forward to welcoming a Sumner County member to the board next year,” said Bob Juden, chairman of Cowley College’s board of trustees.

The filing deadline is June 1, 2017, and the general election is Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Winner of the election would take office on Monday, January 8, 2018, for a two-year term. Subsequent terms of the position would be four years in length.

Board of Trustees members must reside in the county they are serving and cannot be related to a full-time employee of the College (i.e. spouse, child, parent, father-in-law, mother-in-law, step-parent, step-child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, brother, sister/brother-in-law, and son/daughter-in-law).


Welcome to Cowley College - Janet "Jan" Grace!

We are excited and proud to welcome Janet “Jan” Grace as our new Campus Operations Officer. Jan reports directly to Dr. Dennis Rittle, President. Jan will be working (2) days a week at the Ark City campus and will have a temporary office in Galle-Johnson Hall until the Wellington campus is built. She will resume full time responsibilities before October 1, 2017. If you need to reach her, she is at extension 2298.

As our Campus Operations Officer, Jan will work with the Cowley College team, Sumner County and Wellington community to create a student-centered, community oriented campus in Wellington.

Jan is a Michigan State University graduate who earned her degree in Veterinary Technology. She also attended Baker University where she earned her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s of Science in Management. Most recently, Jan worked at as the Director of Veterinary Technology Program where she developed the program from its beginning to full accreditation.

Jan was born in Detroit, Michigan where most of her family resides. She is divorced with no children, but has 3 dogs: a treeing walker coonhound and (2) dachshunds. When not working, Jan enjoys gardening, getting together with friends, cooking, reading and water activities.

When asked what excites her most about being at Cowley, Jan answered “I love being a part of something new. I excel when surrounded by creative people developing new concepts, projects, and programs. This is when I’m most creative and best at critical thinking. Cowley College offers me the opportunity to work with multiple groups of people with a common goal. This is an exciting time for Cowley College! I’m honored to be a part of it.” And, we are so honored to have her!

One of Jan’s favorite mottos she lives by is to “Expect positive outcomes or opportunities in whatever life leads me. Life does work out in the long run.”

When you have a moment, stop by and say hello to Jan and welcome her to Cowley!


Meet and Greet for Jan Grace

Cowley College will be hosting a Meet and Greet for Jan Grace in Wellington at the Sumner County Economic Development Center on Wednesday, April 12 from 4:30pm - 6:00pm. This is a community event for the citizens of Sumner County to meet the new Campus Operations Officer for the future Sumner County Campus, in Wellington, Kan.


Bill to add a Cowley College Board of Trustees member from Sumner County sent to Governor Brownback for his signature

Topeka, KS – March 24, 2017 – After unanimous votes by members of the Kansas House and Kansas Senate, House bill 2164 has been sent to Governor Brownback’s desk for his signature into law. The bill allows Cowley College to add one trustee position to the board from Sumner County.

“After passing the half-cent sales tax measure in November, we recognized state law would need modified to grant taxpayer representation from Sumner County on our elected board,” said Dr. Dennis C. Rittle, president of Cowley College. “We appreciate the assistance of Senator Larry Alley and Representatives Anita Judd-Jenkins and Ed Trimmer in advancing a policy that grants one position on the board to a resident of Sumner County.”

Once the bill is signed into law, eligible Sumner County residents can file to run for the board of trustees position. The filing deadline is June 1, 2017, and the general election is Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Winner of the election would take office on Monday, January 8, 2018, for a two-year term. Subsequent terms of the position would be four years in length.

“Sumner County residents will begin contributing their tax dollars to Cowley College next month. Ensuring taxpayers have representation on the college’s board was a priority of our institution and something we support as a fundamental right in our democracy,” said Bob Juden, chairman of Cowley College’s board of trustees.

For those interested in learning more about the elected position, Dr. Rittle will host a one-hour orientation session to cover expectations for Cowley College Board of Trustees and to respond to frequently asked questions. The orientation will occur during the evening in Wellington on May 1 with specific time and location to be announced.

Board of Trustees members must reside in the county they are serving and cannot be related to a full-time employee of the College (i.e. spouse, child, parent, father-in-law, mother-in-law, step-parent, step-child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, brother, sister/brother-in-law, and son/daughter-in-law).


Campus Visioning Committees Meet

March 7-8, 2017

Several committees have met over March 7 & 8 to discuss Sumner County Campus of Cowley College at the Sumner County Economic Development Commission offices. Business owners and community leaders throughout Sumner County met to discuss and brainstorm needs and considerations for the Sumner County Campus. Meetings took place on Tuesday, March 7 and Wednesday, March 8.


March 7, 2017

Campus Visioning Committee Meets

Meetings are taking place March 7 & 8 at the Sumner County Economic Development Office with Sumner County business and community leaders to determine key elements needed for the Sumner County Campus. Meetings are facilitated by David S. Herlocker of Gordon & Associates Architects firm from Winfield, KS.

Campus Design Committee

Short General Education Center Committee

Tech Center Committee


February 24, 2017

Cowley College Coming Soon Sign Installed

February, 08, 2017

Peyton Adams named January Student of the Month

It has been quite the school year for Cowley College sophomore Peyton Adams. It began with Adams being a finalist for Queen Alalah LXXXV, then a finalist for Homecoming Queen. Now, the well-liked pre-nursing major can add being named the school’s January Student of the Month to her list of accomplishments.

Adams is the daughter of Eric and Coni Adams of Wellington, KS. She is the granddaughter of Linda and Gary Fair of Wellington, and Cindy and the late Kenny Adams of Wellington. She has an older sister, Erianne.

Along with Peyton, her mother (Conni), father (Eric), and sister (Erianne) also attended Cowley.

Adams graduated from Wellington High School in 2015. At Wellington, she was the Senior Class president, president of SADD, and was involved in FCA, National Honor Society, tennis, softball, and basketball.

She was a three-time Class 4A state qualifier in doubles and also placed in singles at the state tennis tournament as a senior. Adams was offered a tennis scholarship to attend Cowley and has remained active on the Arkansas City campus.

At Cowley, Adams was a member of the nationally ranked Lady Tiger tennis team as a freshman, while also serving as a Student Ambassador and an RA in the William R. Docking Dormitory.

Adams has enjoyed being active on the Ark City campus.

“I have really enjoyed my time at Cowley,” Adams said. “Coming here and meeting so many friends has given me this opportunity to be nominated for Student of the Month. It is an honor to be recognized as someone that focuses on grades.”

Adams is majoring in pre-nursing with the hopes of becoming a pediatric oncologist. After Cowley, she plans to apply to nursing school at either Kansas University or Pittsburg State University.

Dr. Michelle Schoon, Cowley College Natural Science Department Chair, is among the instructors that have enjoyed the opportunity to work with Adams.

“Peyton is an excellent student who shows leadership in the classroom,” Dr. Schoon said.

Adams was named to the Dean’s Honor Roll and was selected as an ITA Academic All-American as a freshman.

Away from Cowley, Adams is a member of Sacred Heart Church as well as a nursery worker at First Baptist Church in Arkansas City.


February 3, 2017

Governor Brownback celebrates Cowley College’s varied accomplishments

Cowley College was honored to host the Governor of Kansas to its main campus in Arkansas City for the first time in decades when Governor Sam Brownback visited the school on Friday to congratulate the College for its recent accomplishments.

As he does annually, Governor Brownback delivered his state of the state speech at the beginning of this year’s legislative session. In that message, he put out the call for Kansas schools to offer a baccalaureate degree for $15,000 or less. Many people thought this goal was out of reach, but not those at Cowley College.

“In response to the challenge set by the Governor a student can now get a baccalaureate degree for less than $15,000 if they start with Cowley College while in high school and then move on to Fort Hays State University,” Cowley College president Dr. Dennis C. Rittle said.

The Governor praised the work done by Cowley College in making this a possibility for students.

“Thank you all for what you do here and for Kansas students,” Governor Brownback said. “You have created a pathway for students to realize a Baccalaureate degree for a price tag they can afford.”

.Along with Cowley College employees and members of its Board of Trustees, several area legislators and County Commissioners were in attendance.

Cowley College Board Chair Bob Juden thanked the Governor for visiting the Cowley College campus so the school could showcase how they are changing student lives.

“We are honored to work alongside you and the Kansas legislature to continue our part in providing a first-rate experience,” Juden said.
Dr. Rittle said Cowley College appreciates Governor Brownback for taking the time to recognize the College’s accomplishments. Dr. Rittle also discussed the many values and opportunities Senate Bill 155 offers.

“It is a program that has afforded our high school students the opportunity to take technical education classes at little to no cost to them,” Dr. Rittle said. “This important legislation was championed by Governor Brownback and our students are proof it’s working.”

While on a tour of the campus Brownback also congratulated the school for being selected as the only college in Kansas and Oklahoma to be invited to take part in the High School: Pell “Dual Enrollment” program, which allows students taking college-credit courses to access Federal Pell Grants as early as high school. He also mentioned Cowley’s new campus that will be constructed in Wellington with the goal of offering classes in the Fall of 2018.


Cowley College Announces Pathway to Governor’s Call for $15,000 Baccalaureate Degree

Governor Brownback to Visit Cowley College on Friday to Celebrate $15,000 Option

Arkansas City, KS – January 27, 2017 – Governor Brownback will visit Cowley College for a press event and campus tour showcasing Cowley College’s pathway to baccalaureate degree completion for less than $15,000, a response to his challenge for higher education institutions to develop options for more affordable degree attainment. The event with the Governor will begin at 2:30 in the College’s Brown Center Theater on 201 S. 2nd Street, Arkansas City.

"We appreciate the Governor's commitment to showcasing affordable options for students desiring advanced education opportunities. His $15,000 challenge has helped many Kansans realize a college degree may not be out of their reach," said Dr. Dennis C. Rittle, president of Cowley College.

Governor Sam Brownback called on college leaders in his State of the State address to find a way for students to obtain their undergraduate degree for $15,000.

“My team heard the Governor’s call and got to work determining how Cowley College could meet his objective for a quality, but reasonably priced degree. Because of our unique partnership with Fort Hays State University we can enable students to earn their college degree for less than $15,000,” said Rittle. “In fact, there are two degree options for students at this affordable price, a degree in education and a degree in technology leadership.”

An education degree would enable graduates to enter the workforce as elementary or secondary education teachers. For those with a technology leadership degree, careers in the manufacturing, advanced technology, and construction sector are most common.

Students completing coursework at Cowley College then transferring their credits to Fort Hays State University can earn their undergraduate degree for less than $15,000 for the length of the degree. This affordable pathway to completing a four-year degree is achieved by completing Cowley College coursework concurrent with high school classes.

“We want every high school student to know a high-quality, affordable education is available,” Rittle continued. “We’re proud of our ability to deliver exceptional learning opportunities without burdening our students with excessive college loan debt.”



Cowley College President to Testify in Support of Bill Giving Sumner County Representation on Board of Trustees

Arkansas City, KS – January 30, 2017 – Dr. Dennis C. Rittle, president of Cowley College, will testify before the House and Senate Education committees on Wednesday, February 1 in favor of a bill to add a seat to the College Board of Trustees for an elected representative from Sumner County.

Representative Ed Trimmer and Senator Larry Alley introduced the legislation last week in their respective education committees.

“In order for Sumner County taxpayers to have an elected representative on the College board, a change in state statue is required,” said Rittle. “When the college expansion was approved by Sumner County voters in November, we immediately got to work to determine what needed to happen so Sumner County residents had a voice among our Trustees as soon as possible.”

The bill will be heard in each committee. If successfully passed out of committee, it will go the House and Senate floor for approval, then to the Governor’s office for his signature.

“It was important to us that Sumner County residents had an elected seat as all taxpayers deserve representation,” said Bob Juden, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Provided there are no hiccups in the legislative process, we anticipate this bill passing and an election for a Sumner County trustee in the November election.”


Posted: January 26, 2018

Cowley College team met with City of Wellington officials to talk about utility needs and timeline for the development of the Sumner County Campus location.

Location of Colwey College - Sumner County Campus is in Wellington, Kan. between the Wellington KOA and Wellington Walmart on Hwy 160, one mile from the Kansas Turnpike.


Posted: January 18, 2017

Job Description

College Operations Officer

Cowley College currently is actively seeking a College Operations Officer. This exciting position will be heavily involved with the project planning and design of our new Wellington Campus building and grounds. This COO will oversee the structuring of the campus including faculty assignments, student services, facilities and overall campus operations. Salary for this position will be commensurate with degree and experience.

To apply, please visit our Employment Opportunities page at for complete job descriptions, Staff Application and other required materials to be considered for this opportunity. Incomplete packets will not receive consideration.

Closing Date: January 28, 2017


Job Requirements

Required Education/Experience

Must be a resident or demonstrate significant ties to Sumner County.
Bachelor’s Degree required within a related field, with emphasis in operations and system management preferred. Master’s Degree preferred.
Experience within higher education preferred.


Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2017

Cowley College was recently awarded a nearly $26,000 Department of Commerce - Jobs and Innovative Industry Skills Training (JIIST)

Cowley College, in collaboration with industry partners, seeks to increase the number of qualified CNC programmers, CNC machinist, and machine tool-machinist in the Cowley County and Sumner County areas. According to industry contacts, there is a need for qualified and trained machinists and CNC programmers and operators with a projected growth between 9-20% over the next several years. In order to meet this need, Cowley College plans to expand classroom capacity with the addition of a Machine Tool program at the future Wellington campus, effectively allowing Cowley to offer the growing machine tool program in the counties of our most active CNC/Machinist employers, Cowley County and Sumner County.

Cowley College was recently awarded a nearly $26,000 Department of Commerce - Jobs and Innovative Industry Skills Training (JIIST) Grant for the purchase of new CNC programming equipment. As part of the grant, Tina Grillot, Associate Vice President for Business & Industry, is working with Galaxy Technologies, GKN Aerospace, Tect Aerospace, and Vector Tooling Technologies, to commit to guaranteed interviews, internship agreements, scholarship support for current and future students. Cowley College will also be working with Cowley and Sumner public workforce systems to develop career plans for emerging, underemployed, unemployed workers as well as Cowley and Sumner County high schools for the development of the career pathways and course scheduling that meets the unique needs of the two counties.


"Cowley approved for grants totaling $91,998" — Read the full story on

For more information, Contact Tina Grillot,


January 6, 2017

Cowley College, Short Family conduct deed signing

Cowley College president Dr. Dennis C. Rittle and Board Chair Bob Juden joined Marjorie Short and Nancy Short-Burger on Wednesday, December 21 for the signing of the deeded property worth $1.76 million from the Short Family to the College for the future construction of the Cowley College Sumner County Campus in Wellington, KS.

Dr. Rittle views this as not only a wonderful opportunity for area students, but also the City of Wellington and other communities in the county.

“It is through these types of visionary partnerships that communities will flourish, economic development will become commonplace, and further acts of charity will become contagious as a foundation to build a legacy of learner and workforce success has been laid through a tremendous act of generosity,” Dr. Rittle said. “Thank you, Short family.”

Marjorie Short, the wife of the late Bill Short, is the owner of Short Land Company, LLC, and the donor of 18 acres of property just east of Walmart along Highway 160. In honor of the donation, the family received naming rights and announced the naming of the first building to be the Short General Education Center.

The Center will house general education coursework as well as Student Support Services staff.

Marjorie Short said signing over the deed to the land to Cowley College was an experience of a lifetime.

“Being in a position to give a gift of this magnitude was something I never dreamed of being able to do,” Marjorie said. “I am very happy to see the land being used for education and look forward to seeing how it will improve our county.”

In addition to the 18 acres Marjorie bequeathed to Cowley College, the College will be given a future opportunity to purchase up to an additional 10 acres of adjacent property at a fixed cost.

“What a great deal the Short family has done for their community,” Juden said. “They have given of themselves so their community can grow.”

Nancy Short-Burger, daughter of Marjorie and the late Bill Short said signing over the deed to the land was a humbling experience.
“The gratitude of Mr. Juden, Dr. Rittle and Dr. (Gloria) Walker made the experience ever more fulfilling,” Nancy said. “I know under their leadership that the college will flourish.”

To contribute to the future efforts of Cowley College and the success of its students please visit


Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Cowley College Announces Location of Sumner County Campus

Land valued at more than $1 million donated by the Bill Short Family of Oxford

Wellington, Kan. – The Cowley College Board of Trustees convened for its first board meeting since the election on Monday, November 21, 2016, and approved a property/naming agreement for the Sumner County campus after announcing a gift of land in excess of $1 million dollars by the Short family of Oxford.

Marjorie Short, the wife of the late Bill Short, is the owner of Short Land Company, LLC, and the donor of 18 acres of property just east of Walmart along Highway 160. In honor of the donation, the family received naming rights and announced the naming of the first building to be the Short General Education Center.

“Two weeks ago, Sumner County voters gave us their approval to move forward with a Cowley College campus in this community,” said Dr. Rittle at the Sumner County Economic Development office where the board approved the property agreement. “Now, because of the generosity of Marjorie Short and her family, we’ve got a location in east Wellington and are able to begin our construction plan so we can open the Short General Education Center in the fall of 2018.”

In attendance at the meeting with the Board of Trustees were several members of the Short family. “Education has always been a top priority for our family,” said Nancy Burger, daughter of Marjorie and the late Bill Short. “My parents were the first in their families to graduate from college. While being college educated does not guarantee success, our family has long believed education opens doors that might otherwise remain closed. We would like for all children and adults to have convenient access to a quality education and that’s why our family donated this land to Cowley College to build the Sumner County campus.”

Natives of Oklahoma, Marjorie and Bill Short settled in Oxford, Kansas in December of 1956 to work in partnership with Bill’s father in S & S Oil Company. Four years later, Bill bought his father out and formed the WD Short Oil Company. In 1972, Bill and Marjorie founded Short Land Company after purchasing 160 acres of land north of Oxford.

They had four children: Don, Nancy, Ben, and Tom.

In addition to the 18 acres Marjorie bequeathed to Cowley College, the College will be given a future opportunity to purchase up to an additional 10 acres of adjacent property at a fixed cost.

“We are fortunate to have people like the Short family that give of themselves for the good of the community,” said Bob Juden, chair of the Cowley College Board of Trustees. “We appreciate their generosity in gifting us this land.”


Posted: Friday, November 18, 2016

The Cowley College Board of Trustees is pleased to announce it will host its next board meeting in Wellington, Kansas on Monday, November 21, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. at the Sumner County Economic Development office (314 N. Washington).

The meeting is open to the public and community members are encouraged to attend.


Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Sumner County voters make history with “Yes” vote on a Cowley College Campus

On November 8, Sumner County voters made history by approving the passage of a half-cent county sales tax to build a Cowley College campus in Sumner County and to provide educational services for citizens of Sumner County. The campus will be constructed in Wellington with a goal to begin offering classes in Fall of 2018.

“This historical vote signifies the start of a new era of access to quality and affordable higher education and workforce training in the heart of Sumner County which will permeate throughout all of south central Kansas,” declared Dr. Dennis C. Rittle, President of Cowley College. “The campus will offer transfer degrees as well as high-wage and high-skilled technical programs of study in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, education, computer science, police science, and first-responders.”

This successful 16-month collaborative journey would not have been possible without the efforts and leadership of Stacy Davis, Executive Director of Sumner County Economic Development, Annarose White, Executive Director of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, and Jessica Lucas, Campaign Champion and Strategist.

White said this is a huge opportunity for Wellington and Sumner County.

“The town of Wellington turns 150 in February and I cannot think of a better way to celebrate than to have a College in Wellington to serve Sumner County,” White said. “This is a game changer for the quality of life of our citizens and businesses.”

Agriculture, manufacturing, computer science, first-responders and education programs will be offered at the Wellington campus

“Cowley College employees, students, and the Board of Trustees, as well as county and state dignitaries, industry leaders, educators, and Sumner County dignitaries stood shoulder-to-shoulder and arm-in-arm to make this vision become a soon-to-be reality” Rittle reflected.

Brad Klinge, Kansas commerce deputy secretary of Workforce Services, shared, “This partnership is a model that could be replicated across the state.” Klinge added, “It will provide the area with a workforce that can achieve its overwhelming potential and will allow fantastic communities like Sumner County to keep their best and brightest.”

Susan Johnson, human resources manager for GKN Aerospace Precision Machining in Wellington, KS, was among the many that attended Tuesday’s election night watch party at the Sumner County Economic Development Commission in Wellington.

Speaking to those at the watch party, Johnson said GKN Aerospace, Tect Aerospace, and Triumph Accessory Services, want to stay in Sumner County and a yes vote for a Cowley College campus in Sumner County helps assure that those businesses will continue to thrive and prosper thanks to a trained and skilled workforce.

Retired Wellington resident Lindal Nelson also attended the watch party and said Wellington has been a great place to live and work.

“I am excited for the future of Wellington,” Nelson said. “This will help keep the town and county going.”

Stacy Davis, Executive Director of Sumner County Economic Development, said in economic development it is important to remember that not only is recruiting new business important, but so is business retention.

“In determining the needs for retaining these companies, it was discovered the severe demand for a community college to partner with local companies,” Davis said. “This partnership facilitates educational gaps needed to fill opportunities for retaining these businesses and eventually expanding some of them. It also creates a skilled and qualified workforce that will be afforded a different lifestyle.”

For Sumner County, the partnership between Cowley College and these manufacturers will also open avenues for other industries to grow.

“I am thrilled the residents of Sumner County see the value in education and voted to partner with Cowley College,” Davis said. “We have set up Sumner County to grow in a manner it has not seen in years.”


Eight Economic Development Deals Hinge on Cowley College Construction

Wellington, Kansas – There are 235 new jobs that hang in the balance on Tuesday, awaiting voters’ approval to build Cowley College in Sumner County. The development of Cowley College in Sumner County was long believed to bring additional economic activity to the region, but it’s happened more quickly than economic development officials anticipated.

“To date, we have eight projects in the pipeline that will not move forward with land acquisition if the sales tax increase to build the college does not pass,” said Board Chair Casie Risley. “It’s important that voters understand the election on Tuesday sends a message to business investors about Sumner County’s appetite for growth and new business. The college is key to our ability to recruit and retain new economic investments and stave off further population decline. Without the campus facility, our efforts are severely impeded.”

As is typical in economic development deals, project developers have not permitted Sumner County Economic Development Commission (SCEDC) representatives to release details until they are finalized, but they are able to confirm the eight projects include a mix of retail, industry, and dining.

“When voters approve the half cent sales tax increase for the college, they’re not only bringing improved educational opportunities to the area, but sending a sign that Sumner County is open for business,” said Stacy Davis, director of SCEDC. “I wish we could share more of the specifics because it’s exciting, but what I can reveal is that we have a new industry planning to locate that would bring 100 jobs as well as a popular retail store planning to open a modified version of their metropolitan-based shopping chain. Between the 8 projects, we’re looking at an additional $26 million investment and 200-300 jobs.”

The proposal for the Cowley College development was supported by every city and school district in the county. Each submitted letters of support to the County Commissioners earlier this year and have continued to work in partnership with SCEDC to move the project forward.

“Voters will make the ultimate decision on November 8th,” said Board member John Cooney. “It’s important, from the board’s perspective, that everyone go to the polls fully understanding the economic opportunity the college’s presence in Sumner County will have on our area. We’d prefer to not have to call these eight companies on Wednesday and tell them that Sumner County residents said no. Instead, we’d like to say, ‘It’s a go! Let’s break ground, get some construction going!’”


Sumner County Farm Bureau Endorses Cowley College Effort to Build Sumner County Campus

Wellington, KS – September 28, 2016 – The Sumner County Farm Bureau Board of Directors announced their endorsement of the half-cent sales tax increase for the Sumner County college campus proposed for development by Cowley College.

“Cowley College’s plan to develop an agricultural studies program that will cover coursework in areas like agricultural engineering, agribusiness management, equipment maintenance and operations, ag entrepreneurship, and agricultural construction made it an easy decision for the board to endorse,” said Dale Weishaar, Sumner County Farm Bureau Association Board President. “Ours is a community with strong agricultural ties. A college campus that will provide instruction to nurture our young peoples’ agricultural interests’ right here in Sumner County is a win-win for all.”

Construction of the campus will begin shortly after a favorable vote on November 8, 2016. Cowley College intends to open the campus for students beginning in Fall 2018. The project will be funded in-part by a half-cent sales tax increase that expires in ten years. Purchases made in any Sumner County community will help fund the campus construction.

“We favor the sales tax increase as the funding mechanism because it doesn’t put the funding burden on land owners. Everyone will contribute, including the students who attend the college from out of county and anyone visiting a Sumner County community,” said Dale Weishaar. “The plan has our full endorsement.”

“Our primary emphasis at the Sumner County Campus is vocational training, specifically in agricultural and manufacturing trades. The ag program will be a new feature of the College as there is considerable demand for agricultural studies,” said Dr. Dennis C. Rittle, president of Cowley College. “We’re pleased to have the Sumner County Farm Bureau Association’s endorsement and look forward to providing high-quality education in ag-related fields to support the career pathways of area students.”


Cowley College campus will meet those workforce needs

Published: Sumner Newscow

Sunday, September 11, 2016

by Dr. Dennis Rittle, President of Cowley College — It’s official. We’re on the ballot!

With the recent approval by the County Commissioners of submitted ballot language, Sumner County voters will soon get to cast their vote in favor of a Cowley College campus located in Wellington.

Dr. Dennis Rittle

The need is here. In a recent survey of area students, 86 percent of respondents said they wanted to continue their education close to home. Moreover, 70 percent of adult learners indicated they desire additional training and would take college courses if available in the county.

Since Cowley College began instruction in 1922, we’ve adapted our offerings in a variety of ways to continue to meet the emergent needs of a changing workplace. There’s no question, especially in Sumner County, of the need for a workforce skilled in agricultural, manufacturing, public safety, information technology, teaching, and other vocational trades.

The Cowley College campus in Sumner County will meet those workforce needs. Our goal is to provide area students with the opportunity to advance their education and acquire good-paying jobs close to home.

But we can’t do it without your help.

Your partnership on this important community initiative is needed. To this end, we’re asking you to “Vote YES” on the college campus ballot question. A YES vote will commit revenue from a half-cent sales tax increase for ten years. The investment from your sales tax contributions will enable the construction of an approximately ten-acre Cowley College campus for vocational training and general education instruction for students of all ages.

We know it’s a big ask, but please be assured, the numbers work. Sumner County can support a community college campus.

Cowley College has long wanted to extend our programming in a permanent way to the region because Sumner County students and employers have been asking for this kind of long-term solution to education and workforce needs. We’re ready to build here!

In exchange for the community’s contribution of $12 million dollars, Cowley College in Sumner County will net $90.49 million dollars in economic activity, 3,000 additional program graduates, and 2,040 new residents. We take seriously our commitment to this campus development and will be firmly rooted in the community.

It’s our hope Sumner County residents will seize the opportunity to bring a college campus to the county so every person desiring to advance their education can do so in a convenient and affordable location.

Together we can elevate the quality of life in Sumner County and increase the earning power of all residents through advanced education and workforce development. Let’s make this happen. Vote YES on Nov. 8!


Dr. Dennis Rittle is President of Cowley College.