Western Nebraska Community College and the Masons of Nebraska celebrated the culmination of an $18.5 million renovation project with a ceremonial cornerstone laying at the Main Building on the Scottsbluff Campus Thursday afternoon.
The ceremony was part of the 2019 Homecoming week, with Masonic officers from across the state taking part. WNCC and the Robert W. Furnas Lodge #256 of Scottsbluff coordinated Thursday’s event.
Grand Mason Bob Moninger from Burwell led the ceremony, and told those in attendance that cornerstone laying is a tradition as old as the Masonic Fraternity.
The Grand Lodge of Nebraska has offered the ceremony since 1869 and has performed it on more than 530 buildings in the state, including the state capitol building in Lincoln. The Lodge performs this ceremony to celebrate the opening of buildings such as schools, hospitals, churches, community centers, and court buildings. The ceremony is a symbol of pride that local lodges and all Nebraska Masons take in their communities. The process is still similar to the one used by President George Washington when he laid the cornerstone of the country’s capitol building in 1793.
Following the cornerstone laying ceremony, WNCC provided guided tours of the new facilities. Additionally, community members are encouraged to attend WNCC’s Business After Hours, co-sponsored by the Scottsbluff/Gering United Chamber of Commerce allowed WNCC students to connect with area business professionals and leaders, and pursue job and internship opportunities.