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Lions Club takes a seat
Members challenge other clubs to help with auditorium project
new deh lions club bcc chair donation pic
Darnell Holopirek, Barton Community College director of institutional advancement, accepts a check for $250 from Great Bend Noon Lions Club President Marty Steinert and other club members Tuesday afternoon. The club is the first civic club to contribute to the Take a Seat campaign to raise money for the colleges auditorium renovations. The Lions issued a challenge to other clubs to help the cause. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

A couple Tuesdays ago, Barton Community College Director of Institutional Advancement Darnell Holopirek gave a program at the Great Bend Noon Lions Club meeting. Among her topics was the much-needed and on-going renovation of the college’s Fine Arts Auditorium.
After they learned no other civic club had contributed to the Take a Seat campaign, club members decided they wanted their organization to be the first. They voted to purchase two of the seats for $250.
“Now, they want others to follow their lead,” Holopirek said. She came to the Lions Club meeting Tuesday for the check presentation.
The campaign allows community members to sponsor an auditorium seat for $125, which will get their name, or the name of an honoree, inscribed on a plaque and placed in the lobby area. Seat sponsors will have at their disposal two lines at 30 characters each. Learn more at
“The Great Bend Noon Lions Club believes in the importance of education and supporting the arts,” said club President Marty Steinert. “Along with our donation to the Take a Seat – Barton Fine Arts Auditorium Restoration Campaign, we’d like to issue a challenge to all area service groups to support this worthwhile cause.”
Four decades of performing arts activities have taken a toll on the auditorium at Barton, and much of the lighting and sound equipment has never been updated, Holopirek said. Since the standards for theater have changed so dramatically, it was determined that the Fine Arts Auditorium needed significant attention.
There are groups that can’t perform at the facility because it won’t accommodate their needs, she said. Also, high school graduates come to the college used to spaces that have newer technology than the auditorium.
The college is also funding the reconfiguration of the seating area to include lit aisles and comply with regulations in the Americans with Disabilities Act. It will go from 820 seats to about 650.
The physical updates will be finished by mid-August and the lighting and sound equipment should be installed during the upcoming fall semester.
 Donations will be accepted online or by cash, check or credit card by calling Coleen Cape at the Foundation Office, 620-786-1136. The campaign will continue until Aug. 1.