Rowan-Cabarrus breaks ground for new Advanced Technology Center
KANNAPOLIS — Cabarrus County Commission Chair Steve Morris said that education is the way forward for the county and the region and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s new over $17 million Advanced Technology Center will help do just that.
The college officially broke ground on the new Advanced Technology Center (ATC) at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis on Monday, Jan. 22.
“The building will serve as a beacon for new investment and businesses will be attracted to our region and to our research campus,” Morris, who is also a member of the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Board of Trustees, said. “The ATC is truly an economic development project and will help both our citizens and existing businesses employ a skilled workforce.”
“We are pleased to provide the additional funding for the state-of-the-art educational space,” Morris said. “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 ATC will be built on nearly three acres of land that was donated by David Murdock through the collaborative efforts of Vice President of Castle and Cooke North Carolina Operations at North Carolina Research Campus Mark Spitzer, Rowan-Cabarrus President Carol Spalding and Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant.
“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,” emphasized President Carol Spalding. “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 advanced technology center as both a place and a culture. The ATC will support lifelong learning in emerging, incumbent, and transitioning workforces in addition to assisting business operations in the 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 & continuing education at Rowan-Cabarrus.
It will also showcase the latest innovative and leading edge technology in all supported programs, 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 Dr. 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.”
A competitive request for proposal process was completed and Little Diversified was selected as the architect for the project, Rodgers Builders, Inc. has been selected as the construction manager-at-risk, Bullard Associates Engineers has been selected as the low voltage systems designer, and McCracken & Lopez, P.A. has been selected as the commissioning agent.
State and private funds play a large role in supporting the equipment needs of the ATC.
The practical and authentic environment created at the ATC will focus on applied technical training and will consist of industry-standard equipment, authentic workspaces, virtualization opportunities, practical application of classroom learning, and “worksite” exposure for high school and middle school students.
“I believe our new ATC will stimulate the growth of high-tech, high-wage jobs that will allow workers to prosper, businesses to profit, and our communities to grow,” Board Chair Short said.
The college plans to anticipate and respond accordingly to future technology changes and has designed the new Advanced Technology Center to support industry growth for the next 50 years. The ATC will offer advanced levels in numerous programs, including interdisciplinary projects and capstone experiences for students. Students will work on equipment that is currently in the workplace and get hands-on experience to learn and improve their skills. The ATC will also provide flexible spaces with adaptable technology that can be adjusted to meet industry standards.
“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, 2017-2018 Student Government Association president.
The ATC will include 12 practical and integrated labs and seven general and computer 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 will also have a student lounge and collaboration areas, and a useful lobby. There will be seminar spaces, which will enhance the ability to host community partners, as the college currently does in the adjacent North Carolina Research Campus location. Office spaces will also be provided for administration, faculty and some industry partners.
Mayor Hinnant also shared that this addition to Kannapolis fits right in with the city’s plan for revitalizing downtown.
In October the city kicked off its Downtown Revitalization Project which includes streetscape and infrastructure improvements, a sports and entertainment venue and mixed used development.
During its board meeting, which was also on Monday, Jan. 22, council also approved a memorandum of understanding with Corporate Realty, Inc. The firm has said they will invest approximately $300 million in new construction and redevelopment of properties in downtown Kannapolis.
“As we talk about building downtown, this facility (ATC) is likely to bring 300 people per dat downtown to our community. Where are they going to eat? Where are they going to shop? Where are they going to lounge around and wait for class to get started? Where are they going to go and enjoy a pizza? Why not in our fully rejuvenated and revitalized downtown?” Hinnant said. “It’s a good, symbiotic relationship that we are working together to have all this done.”
The groundbreaking event also featured technology-focused appetizers provided by North Carolina Research Campus Partner, Mark Allison, who serves as Dole Food Company’s Director of Culinary Nutrition in alignment with Dole’s partnership with Disney.
For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu/applyor call 704-216-RCCC (7222). The college is currently accepting applications for spring 2018 eight-week classes that will begin March 16.