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12:56 AM Mon, Jan. 21st

Column: It's all about providing a sound education

When Mohave Community College's $124 million bond comes before the county's voters in November, I'm inclined to cast my vote in favor of the bond.

I'm definitely pro-education, but I'd really be impressed with the bond if they would invest the money so that even more money would go toward education, the bond would be paid off quickly, and as a result, Mohave County would be put on the worldwide stage.

I'd take $100 million and build a basketball-mecca arena. I'm thinking that 10,000 seats would suffice. Attached to the arena, I'd build two gymnasiums that would have the capability for three basketball courts in each. They would be convertible so that there would be plenty of seats, say 1,200, for each main floor.

Now, before you jump all over me, please hear me out. This money will be coming back to us ten-fold. We would have so much money for education; the new technology companies would come throwing their large stashes at us so that they could be part of the good things going on at MCC.

The first order of business is location. I would propose the site to be where the Mohave County Fairgrounds are located, right smack in the heart of Kingman. The proceeds from our basketball-Mecca business would allow for a much needed improved fairgrounds. I'm an old school Kingmanite, but it's time to move on with the fairgrounds. Well, only if the basketball-mecca idea flies.

Then I'd take $23 million of the bond money and build a flyover from I-40 at Harrison Street straight to mecca. He he, this is where the genius of it all comes into play. There would not be an expressway back to I-40. The folks that come to visit mecca would have to drive through Kingman.

As the patrons exit, the first thing they would run into would be a city of Kingman Gas-and-Go, complete with all the possible retail solutions for their needs. Sales tax, people, saa-lll-es tax.

I've spent $123 million, so I have to start generating revenue. First, we sell the naming rights for mecca. I'd offer the name on a five-part basis. I'd charge $20 million for the first part and $10 million for the last four. I can see it now. The Nike-Reebok-Adidas-Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-Exxon Arena. $60 million right back atcha! Of course, underneath all that would be "The Home of the Desert Bighorns!"

Next, I'd open negotiations with all the major high school basketball tournament organizers. Putting on my cheesiest grin, I'd say, "Welcome to Mecca!" I'd take these tournaments and enter into contracts with ESPN or to whomever the highest bidder would be to televise these events.

Of course, mecca could be used for other things to bring in revenue. Concerts are a big thing. Get the big name stars to come to our humble abode. There are more than enough people in our area that would support major concerts. Sales tax, people, saa-lll-es tax.

Additionally, I'd look into having a team in the NBA Developmental League. Concerts, along with the tickets sold for the NBADL team, would have a 10 percent surcharge that would enter the coffers of MCC.

MCC basketball would become the envy of the nation. I'd hire Abar Rouse of Baylor basketball notoriety for $250,000 a year to make the Desert Bighorns into a junior college powerhouse on the national level. Rouse is a man who believes in doing the right thing, and he'd be a good addition to our community. Also, he needs the money.

As the profits start pouring in, MCC would get more than the $124 million it's asking. Technological upgrades would be almost free, as the big companies in this area would clamor to come here so that they could recruit the best and brightest minds that come to Kingman to be part of mecca.

I know I'd have to convince the residents of Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City that putting mecca in Kingman would benefit them. Easily done, I say. All graduates of Mohave County high schools would receive two years of MCC education for free. That is, until MCC grew into a four-year institution. Then we could start discussions for a retractable roof football stadium.

Oh yes, I'm definitely pro-education.

Note: Recently the administration at Kingman Academy of Learning has been using Kingman Academy High School to designate itself. For this reason, I, too, will be identifying it as KAHS.