College of the Ozarks begins reopening its campus to the public

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Rev Steve Heather KOLR

POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. — College of the Ozarks will open its campus to visitors starting Monday, May 10. The college has been closed to the public for over a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have so many people in the community that really enjoy coming here,” said Nathan Bell, a greenhouse supervisor. “This is one of the places they take their mothers, and they take their grandmothers and they buy their plants for their homes.”

Bell supervises the Hoge Greenhouses for College of the Ozarks. Bell says he is excited students will finally share their hard work once again with the public.

“We were only able to sell to our own faculty and staff that were still left on campus who were still working here,” said Bell. “So our spring sales last year didn’t really happen.”

“It’s been so nice to finally say, ‘okay community, you can come in and you can purchase our hard work,'” said Elise Bhujbal, a senior at College of the Ozarks. “You can come and see what we’ve been putting all of our effort into all semester.”

Bhujbal will be graduating from college this weekend.

“So ready to graduate and see where life takes me,” said Bhujbal.

She says it’s exciting to finally see everything open back to the public again.

Such a blessing, especially for the students who get to start being with the community on campus as well,” said Bhujbal.

“There’s something about interacting with our students, who are here working and working off the cost of their education and really putting their heart and soul and creativity into every product that you see,” said Valorie Coleman.

Coleman is the Public Relations Director for College of the Ozarks and says Edwards Mill and General Store, as well as the Stained Glass and Candle Shop, will reopen on May 26.

Since the pandemic began the stores have been selling their products online.

“Our sales have been tremendous,” said Coleman. “So people were able to buy our mill products and fruit cakes and stained glass items and night lights and all of the beautiful things, but it’s really fun now to actually be able to have these locations open.”

The Ralph Foster Museum and the Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen are also scheduled to reopen this fall.

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