RCCC breaks ground on new Advanced Technology Center

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 25, 2018

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College

KANNAPOLIS — On Monday, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College broke ground for its Advanced Technology Center at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.

The groundbreaking included remarks by the college’s partners, including board Chairman Carl Short Jr.; Cabarrus County Commissioners Chairman Steve Morris; Mark Spitzer, vice president of Castle and Cooke North Carolina Operations at the Research Campus; Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant; Student Government Association President Liana Walker; and college President Carol Spalding.

The ceremony also featured technology-focused appetizers provided by Research Campus partner Mark Allison, who serves as Dole Food Co. director of culinary nutrition in alignment with Dole’s partnership with Disney.

The Advanced Technology Center is the result of collaborative funding by both private and public partners. The combined efforts and support of the Cabarrus County bond package, Cabarrus County funding and additional funding from the Rowan-Cabarrus Foundation’s major gifts campaign make the new building possible.

“We are pleased to provide the additional funding for the state-of-the-art educational space,” said commissioners Chairman Morris, who is also a member of the college’s board of trustees. “The community’s overwhelming support verified that our community values the educational opportunities that Rowan-Cabarrus’ new Advanced Technology Center brings. It is a game-changer for our region as we strive to strengthen our economic and workforce development.”

The center will be built on nearly 3 acres that was donated by David Murdock.

“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,” Spalding said. “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.”

Rowan-Cabarrus views the new center as both a place and a culture. The center will support lifelong learning in emerging, incumbent and transitioning workforces in addition to assisting business operations in surrounding communities.

“The creation of this Advanced Technology Center is about more than a building – it’s a sign to our community and companies that this region is committed to developing a workforce to accommodate and support high-tech, advanced technology careers,” said Craig Lamb, vice president of corporate and continuing education at Rowan-Cabarrus.

The center will showcase innovative technology as well as serve as a partner for businesses and industries by promoting new careers and offering business solutions.

“We hope to bring together people who are teaching and training to solve comprehensive problems for companies. When a company has a manufacturing issue, we can bring together our skilled instructors to collaboratively solve their problems at the Advanced Technology Center,” said Michael Quillen, vice president of academic programs. “All of this comes together to provide timely, state-of-the-art training and integrated approaches to solving everyday problems.”

Little Diversified was the architect for the project, Rodgers Builders Inc. is the construction manager, Bullard Associates Engineers is the low-voltage systems designer, and McCracken & Lopez P.A. is the commissioning agent.

State and private funds play a large role in supporting the equipment needs of the center.

The center will focus on applied technical training and will use industry-standard equipment, authentic workspaces, virtualization opportunities, practical application of classroom learning and “work site” exposure for high school and middle school students.

“I believe our new advanced technology center will stimulate the growth of high-tech, high-wage jobs that will allow workers to prosper, businesses to profit and our communities to grow,” said Carl M. Short, chairman of the college board of trustees.

The college plans to respond to future technology changes and has designed the new center to support industry growth for the next 50 years. The center will offer advanced levels in numerous programs, including interdisciplinary projects and capstone experiences for students.

“When looking around this growing area, I know this groundbreaking is more than a literal symbol, but a figurative representation of a better tomorrow. This building is not just an investment in the students, but also in the community,” said Liana Walker, the 2017-18 Student Government Association president.

The center will include 12 labs and seven classrooms. The labs will feature a large flex lab on the ground floor, which will allow the college to provide space for our industry partners to assist in working through their production line challenges.

The building also will have a student lounge and collaboration areas. There also will be seminar spaces.

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, visit www.rccc.edu/apply or call 704-216-7222.