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Rowan-Cabarrus Community College seeks bond referendum support for $45 million project

SALISBURY – Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is working to drum up support for a bond referendum and a $45 million project on their North Campus in Salisbury.

The Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Board of Trustees in September passed a resolution to support construction of a technology education complex on their North Campus and is asking for a bond referendum to fund construction of the project. And representatives of the college appeared at the Rowan County commissioners meeting this week to ask for their support. Commissioners in turn directed county staff to create a resolution of support that would be ready by the first meeting in November.

The college specifically asked for support for a referendum on the March ballot to support construction of a 105,000-square-foot facility and renovated space that’s proposed to be complete by 2024. It would be known as the technology education complex. Plans would relocate multiple programs.

“The technology education complex will include facilities for the fire decontamination program, career and college promise building, automotive, welding and machining programs as well as digital design,” said Sarah Walker, executive director of Governance, Foundation Operations and Public Information.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College President Carol Spalding told commissioners this week that the project would align the institution better with its partners and build a “more sustainable future” for the community.

Spalding said the last classroom building that the county funded at the North Campus was more than 40 years ago.

“We think we’re due,” she said.

 

The college says the investment would allow it to offer “cutting-edge” programs to meet the needs of new industries and strengthen the working relationship with local educational entities. More specifically, it hopes to provide facilities for high-tech jobs in fields such as robotic and virtual welding, advanced machining and automotive technology.

College representatives told the Post the proposed bond referendum would help Rowan-Cabarrus expand and enhance technical programs, support dual-credit programs that allow high school students to participate in career and technical education through the early college and Career and College Promise programs and also develop what would be a first-of-its-kind fire training facility focused on firefighter safety.

Facilities will be open in time as long as the bond referendum appears on the March ballot, said Craig Lamb, vice president of Corporate and Continuing Education.

This is a big and critical project for the community and to continue meeting the needs of the county as a whole, Walker said.

“Even in a time when unemployment is low, enrollment is up 6%, making the college the eighth largest of the 58 community colleges in the state,” Walker said in a news release sent to the Post.

Plans for the bond referendum are currently being discussed with Rowan County commissioners, and the college says it’s hopeful the effort will receive support from the community.

“In the coming months, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College will work to inform Rowan County residents about the immediate and positive impacts these projects will have on our community and its citizens,” a news release stated.

Walker, on behalf of the college, said she is excited about this opportunity and being able to be able to better serve the community.

Lamb said there’s been no decision yet about what will go into the buildings currently housing the automotive and machining programs if the bond referendum passes and the technology education complex is built. Lamb said that those affiliated with the project would also address any vacated spaces or buildings from relocated programs with newer programs.

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