published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Reliving history through the pages of the South Lake Press
FROM THE FILES | 19 years ago -- 1993
NOTE: This week's column is a continuation of the history of Lake Sumter Community College in South Lake County.
Shortly after Dr. Robert Westrick became president of Lake Sumter Community College in 1993, he came to South Lake County talking about the college and how a second campus was going to be established in Sumter County.
The main campus was and still is in Leesburg. South Lake residents asked why Sumter, why not us? Find me 40 acres he said, and we will.
Contact with Daryl Carter of Maury Carter and Associates and Bob Mandell of Greater Construction brought two separate offers for land. The college chose the Carter property on land known as Skytop, where the campus now sits.
Those were exciting times here. South Lake Hospital had purchased 40 acres east of Citrus Tower Boulevard for its new hospital, and Shannon Elswick had come to town to build and run it.
The Carters were involved in development of Citrus Tower Boulevard and Hancock Road to service additional property it owned that included Summit Greens. The Carters also gave the hospital 10 acres towards a wellness center, and the hospital bought another 10 acres to enlarge that campus and began work on the National Training Center.
The hospital bought additional land for itself, and also bought 60 acres to hold for LSCC to have a 100-acre campus and become a 2+2 partner with the University of Central Florida. (That's to get a two-year degree at LSCC and the additional two-year Bachelor of Arts degree from UCF, all on the same campus.) The state repaid the hospital within the five years, four as I recollect.
The Carters donated another 27 acres to enlarge the college campus to 127 acres, and the wonderful 300-acre joint campus of the hospital and its facilities and the college and its facilities between Citrus Tower Boulevard and Hancock Road were cemented.
The hospital and college ran a joint major fund drive for the educational facilities at the hospital and the second story community room at the new LSCC building. State Rep. Everett Kelly was always a strong proponent of LSCC, both the main Leesburg campus and obtaining building funds for South Lake.
These were the days of mutual respect, cooperation and coordination with Elswick for the hospital, Carter for the landowners, Westrick for the college and Clermont City Manager Wayne Saunders and city council for the city. The goal: Make it the best that it can be.
The South Lake Citizens Advi-sory Committee held an open house to commemorate opening the new facility on July 26, 2001; 250 were hoped for, more than 400 came.
In about 2,000, during Lake County Days in Tallahassee, Dr. Westrick and I met with Rep. Daniel Webster, who was Speaker of the House and represented South Lake County, and the dream and money materialized for the 90,000 square foot three-story higher education building on campus, and plans for its grand opening on March 1, 2002.
Westrick had also dreamed of a regional library system. That dream was reignited and guided by current President Dr. Chuck Mojock. Three years ago, the 50,000 square foot, $12 million-plus new Cooper Memorial Library, where we now gather, became the third building on campus.
This partnership included Lake County Library System, the State of Florida, Lake Sumter Community College, University of Central Florida, and substantial local donations through Friends of the Library and the Cooper Memorial Library Association.
One night, I dreamed of Café Dupee and volunteered to sponsor that popular spot on campus in memory of my husband, George.
LSCC is soon to become a state college offering four-year degrees. The trustees have a master plan for the physical growth of this campus.
An excellent education system is a must for any community's positive quality of life and economic growth. I encourage all of you to get involved and enjoy and enhance the opportunities available. We will be as good as we make it.
Friends say final good-byes to Dolores Vander Meer
-- Family and friends said a last good-bye to longtime Clermont resident Dolores Vander Meer at the South Lake Presbyterian Church on Sept. 8.
Remarks included her continued activity with the Clermont Garden Club, where she served as its president for two years from 1970 to 1972. And during those same two years, she was president of the South Lake Art League.
Her comment, "I have to stick close to do one so I might as well do both and get it over with." She did a superb job leading both organizations.
Garden Club member Martha Conley expressed her admiration for Vander Meer's artistic and innovative floral arranging talents.
"When I joined the garden club in 1976, Dolores was doing floral arrangements of dried leaves and plants. Most of us didn't even know what these plants were but she made then come alive in beautiful presentations."
Vander Meer won many ribbons in local, county and state flower shows.
She and her husband, Jay, who owned the Clermont Realty, were honored as the December 2002 at the South Lake Chamber's "Gem of the Hills" for their lifetime dedication to the community. Jay was a member of Clermont City Council, served for many years on the Lake County Planning and Zoning Board, and is still an active member of the local Lions Club.