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Murdock gives RCCC land for tech training center

KANNAPOLIS — David H. Murdock has donated 2 acres of land to Rowan-Cabarrus Community College for construction of the college’s planned Advance Technology Center, according to a news release.

The donation allows the two organizations to strengthen their workforce development partnership at the North Carolina Research Campus and throughout the region, the news release said. Murdock is chairman, CEO and president of Castle & Cooke, Inc. and founder of the North Carolina Research Campus founder.

The new Advanced Technology Center, a 60,000-square-foot classroom and laboratory building, will be adjacent to the college’s existing facility on the NC Research Campus that offers associate degrees in biotechnology and nursing. Murdock, made a donation of two acres of land for the construction of the center in recognition of the important role workforce development plays in supporting businesses in the region, including the research campus, that are transferring scientific and technical advances into the global marketplace.

“On behalf of the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College board of trustees, I sincerely thank David Murdock for generously providing land for the Advanced Technology Center on the North Carolina Research Campus. The location will leverage the resources of the North Carolina Research Campus with the college’s history of workforce development to bring wonderful new opportunities to our region,” Carl M. Short, chairman of the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College board of trustees, said in the news release.

The center will provide industry-recognized certifications, hands-on skills and customized training and support services to address the educational needs of companies with high technology demands and in emerging fields.

“The Advanced Technology Center will be a flagship to attract employers to the region and will allow the college to bring a higher level of training and education to the community, increasing participation in high-wage jobs,” Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, said in the news release. “Employment in advanced technology is constantly evolving and this facility will allow us to ensure that the local workforce remains qualified and current, key components of economic development.”

Castle & Cooke North Carolina Vice President of Operations Mark Spitzer said adding the Advanced Technology Center “will enhance the campus’ role not only as a premier center of scientific research, but as an engine for workforce and economic advancement for Kannapolis and the surrounding region.”

The concept for the center originated from interviews with experts in information technology, energy, manufacturing, construction and health care fields, along with conversations with other local colleges, economic development leaders and futurists from the local service region. Funding was approved by Cabarrus County residents in the 2014 Rowan-Cabarrus bond referendum with over 64 percent of the vote.

“We are proud to provide the additional funding for the state-of-the-art educational space,” said Steve Morris, chairman of the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners and member of the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College board of trustees. “The community’s overwhelming support verified that our community values the educational opportunities that the center brings. It is a game-changer for our region as we strive to strengthen our economic and workforce development.”

In addition to the funding from Cabarrus County and the land donation from David Murdock, the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Foundation is supporting the center, and the college is exploring grants and donations to provide equipment for the training. The college will also pursue partnerships with local and national suppliers for laboratories and programs.

“We are working diligently to revolutionize our economic development environment and the ATC is one more piece of the puzzle we need on the North Carolina Research Campus,” said Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant. “By capitalizing on our partnerships with Mr. Murdock and Rowan-Cabarrus, we are developing more job and educational opportunities for people of all ages in Kannapolis. We will now have the complete spectrum on the campus – research to cutting edge manufacturing. We cannot wait for the doors to open.”

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