Published June 22, 2013
By Ty Beaver, Tri-City Herald
Columbia Basin College's Board of Trustees is expected to approve construction of a $75,000 veterans memorial on the college's Pasco campus.
The proposal is on the agenda for a special meeting at 1:30 p.m. Monday.
The project will be paid for by CBC's student government, with the college overseeing construction at a site between the HUB building and the library. It could be finished as early as Veterans Day.
Long-term maintenance of the memorial, described as a garden with trees, brick pathways and benches, will be paid for by about $20,000 in donations collected in recent years by student veterans and other supporters.
College officials said the idea of a memorial started as a grassroots campaign but has received increasing support from students, instructors and the community.
"It's going to be huge," said CBC President Rich Cummins.
Jason Schlegel, the college's assistant director for its Bachelor of Applied Science degree program and an Army veteran, said he and a colleague thought of the idea. It's a way to show support for CBC's growing population of about 400 student veterans.
A student veterans group and others held fundraisers through the years, such as selling peanuts at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Kennewick, to raise the money. But as the vision for the memorial grew, it was decided to approach the college for help.
"Selling peanuts wasn't going to do it," he said.
Cummins and other college officials enthusiastically supported the project. The CBC Foundation was brought in and began seeking designs for the memorial this spring. Student leaders also jumped on board, recently voting to pay for the full cost of construction.
Schlegel and Cummins said CBC's monument will have a different feel than most veterans memorials. It will seek to honor past, present and future veterans of all military service. They described it as a "living monument" that will be inviting.
"What's appealing about this monument is that it provides a place to reflect," Schlegel said.
The memorial won't be the first at a school in the Tri-Cities. Washington State University Tri-Cities unveiled its own memorial last fall -- a bronze sculpture of pages flying up from a book, engraved with anecdotes from veterans and their friends and families.
Published with permission of the Tri-City Herald. Additional news stories can be accessed online at the Tri-City Herald.
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