03/25/05 — College building ahead of schedule

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College building ahead of schedule

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 25, 2005 1:47 PM

Good weather has brought Wayne County Community College six weeks closer to opening its new Continuing Education Center.

The facility is 60 percent complete, said job superintendent Pete Corser of Daniels and Daniels of Goldsboro, the contractor for the project.

College officials are expecting the crew to finish in August, but Corser said he is pushing for a July move-in day.

The Continuing Education Center is the second phase of a $9 million, three-phase building project at the college, which includes an already completed childcare center.

The 31,000-square-foot building will house administrative offices and four classrooms as well as the Small Business Center, a catering kitchen and a corporate training room. Windows cover six sides of the hexigon-shaped lecture hall, which will seat 50 people and offer expansion possibilities.

Dr. Ed Wilson, president of Wayne Community College, said the corporate training room will provide a new location for companies that already use the college for in-service training.

Above the three-tiered lecture hall will be a literacy center, which will offer individualized instruction in small classes as well as classrooms for students preparing to take their General Education Development diploma test.

Steel prices increased shortly after construction began on the center, forcing changes to the college's original plan for the facility, including a slight reduction in its energy efficiency rating.

This is a "green building" aligned at a 45-degree angle to the other buildings for best use of the sun, said Ken Ritt, vice president for educational support services. The architect, Hayes-Howell of Southern Pines, designed the facility with only four hard wall offices. The others are in cubicles in open areas banked on one side by huge windows. Ninety percent of the light in the building will be natural.

"It has an enormous amount of windows, compared to what we have in the other buildings," Ritt said. The original plan called for the building to be 20 percent energy efficient. After the cutbacks, it will be 15 percent energy efficient.

Funds from a 2000 state bond issue for community colleges and universities financed the project.

Wayne Community College received $13 million, of which, about $3 million has been used for general repairs, maintenance, technological improvements and covered walkways connecting most of the college's buildings.

The college's first project was a state-of-the-art childcare center, completed in August 2003. The facility can accommodate 50 children ages 6 months to 5 years and is used as a lab for the community college's early childhood development program.

The playground has butterfly bushes, bird feeders and tracks for tricycles. Classroom cameras allow parents to log in and watch their children.

The third project. a 28,000-square-foot computer science and business center, is planned for fall 2006.