06/29/04 — Work begins on $4 million WCC building

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Work begins on $4 million WCC building

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 29, 2004 1:59 PM

Construction begins this week on a Continuing Education Center at Wayne Community College that will feature a 54-seat tiered lecture hall and a corporate training center.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held Tuesday for the $4.2 million project. The building will contain 31,204 square feet. It is the second structure at the college to be funded by the $3 billion worth of higher education bonds approved by North Carolina voters in 2000.

The building, on the northwest corner of the campus, is called an energy-efficient, "high-performance" structure. It is designed to save energy in heating and cooling.

Ken Ritt, vice president of the college for educational support services, said that Wayne Community was one of eight schools that volunteered to construct a high-performance building. There was a checklist to follow to comply with energy efficiency and erosion control, he said, and the State Energy Office provided $20,000 for it.

The new building will house continuing education functions and offices. On the first floor will be the Small Business and Industry Center, a lecture hall, corporate training center with 40-student capacity, a classroom and administrative offices.

The Basic Skills Division will be on the second floor along with three classrooms, literacy center and computer learning center. A student lounge is also planned.

Landscaping and 42 additional parking spaces for visitors will round out the project.

Dr. Ed Wilson, college president, said it has been a long time since Wayne Community has taken on a project of this magnitude.

"Continuing education touches students from all strata," he said. "They are the reason that we're building this new facility."

Roy White, vice president of continuing education and basic skills, said that 13,000 students were served by the programs over the last year.

"We believe that this project will make a major difference in Wayne County in terms of a competent work force," he said during Tuesday's ceremonies.

"This moment is neither an accident nor a coincidence. It's the first of several steps to be taken that show the confidence the people in Wayne County have in us."

Wilson said that the 2000 state bond for universities and community colleges was approved by nearly 80 percent of voters in Wayne County.

Of the $3.1 billion in the referendum, Ritt said, $600 million went to the community college system, $13 million to Wayne Community.

To date, some of the projects done on the Goldsboro campus include a new roof on the science building, upgrades to the fiber optic systems, a childcare center, expansion of the dental clinic, and additions to the energy plant.

Ritt said the remaining projects include renovations to the administration building and Dogwood building, planned in the summer of 2005. Administrative offices will be relocated into the Dogwood Building, moving the current administrative building into a student-focused direction.

"This building will be entirely for student functions," Ritt said. "That was what the building was originally designed to do."

The cafeteria will remain and the bookstore will be expanded, as will the financial aid and counseling offices. Expansions to the student activities center were completed last week.