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Plans for RCCC building at N.C. Research Campus delayed

By Sarah Nagem
snagem@salisburypost.com
KANNAPOLIS ó Developers of the N.C. Research Campus are continuing their efforts to line up funds for a building where Rowan-Cabarrus Community College can train students for biotechnology jobs.
But with the recent meltdown of the financial market leaving banks hesitant to lend, that goal isn’t as easy to reach as it used to be.
“We’re just trying to finalize everything with the construction lenders,” said Lynne Scott Safrit, president of Castle & Cooke North Carolina, which is building the research campus.
At the college’s board of trustees meeting Monday, RCCC President Dr. Carol Spalding said construction plans at the research campus are delayed.
Castle & Cooke is handling the financial aspects of the project, and the college will pay the company $44 million over 20 years to operate there.
RCCC officials are optimistic the project will go on this year as scheduled, college spokesman Jeff Lowrance said.
“That’s our hopes ó that groundbreaking will take place by the end of the year,” he said.
Construction will take about a year, and Lowrance said the school hopes to be set up in the new building by early 2010. Classes there will hopefully begin in the fall semester that year.
“Everyone involved understands the importance of the community college being on the campus,” Lowrance said.
The college will train students in biotechnology and agricultural-biotechnology programs, as well as a certificate program in clinical research.
Lowrance said the school is confident Castle & Cooke will “hammer out” the money issues.
The sour economy has placed other hurdles in the way of the campus project. Last month, Kannapolis leaders had to delay the sale of bonds for infrastructure construction around the campus.
But Safrit said she wants RCCC to be at the Research Campus as soon as possible.
“If it were later than today, it would be later than I hoped,” she said.

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