The grand opening of the Vada Sheid Community Development Center was held on September 9, 2010. Hundreds gathered for the event to hear remarks by retired U.S. Senator Dale Bumpers and Governor Mike Beebe and performances by Jonathan Story, the Mountain Home High School Jazz Band, the Spokesmen Quartet and the Twin Lakes Choral Society. An evening performance by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra filled the auditorium. Known locally as The Sheid, the opening of this significant building on the ASUMH campus honored its defined mission of educating, enlightening and entertaining.
This multi-purpose, LEED-certified two-story facility is 67,000 square feet. The community center features: the Ed Coulter Performing Arts Center with a capacity of 824 or 1,600, the McClure Convention Center that can seat up to 500 or be divided into smaller meeting rooms, the Dale Bumpers Great Hall, First Security Amphitheatre, Haley Family Conference Room and the Ozarks Regional Arts Council Conference Room. Other popular spaces include the Trout Center and Art Gallery. Still to be installed, once funding is available, is the Switzer Culinary Center.
The Sheid is named for Vada Webb Sheid, the first woman to serve both in the Arkansas Senate and the House of Representatives. Sheid was born August 19, 1916 in Izard County, Arkansas. As a young girl growing up in rural Arkansas, she accompanied her father to local political picnics and debates. Even then, her interest in politics attracted attention. “What office are you running for?” adults would tease. Sheid grew up to become a legend in Arkansas politics. She became one of the most influential politicians in Arkansas. With her father’s encouragement, she ran as a Democrat for Baxter County treasurer in 1958 but lost. In 1960, Sheid ran again and won. She served as Baxter County treasurer through 1965.