Alamance Community College (ACC) held a groundbreaking ceremony for the school’s new $ 6.7 million student service center on Friday, October 22.
The new 12,203-square-foot two-story building will house the community college’s admissions and financial services, the registrar’s office and the office of the vice-president of student success under one roof.
The Student Services Center, which will be adjacent to the current main building and is intended to serve as a new entrance to the heart of the ACC campus, is expected to open in fall 2022. The project follows a vote by citizens of the Alamance County in favor of 2018 education obligations.
ACC President Dr. Algie Gatewood opened the ceremony by expressing the need for the Student Service Center and the importance of its completion.
“Now you’ll see the heavy equipment here and all the orange cones – we’ve had things in play for a while,” Gatewood said. “But we really want to finish this project as quickly as possible because it is so desperately needed. On behalf of the Alamance Community College Board of Directors, teachers, staff and students, allow me to thank the citizens of this great county who made this project possible.
Gatewood then introduced some of the distinguished guests who have been invited to attend the ceremony.
The CCA Board of Trustees, NC Community College System President Thomas Stith III, Alamance County State Representatives Dennis Riddell and Ricky Hurtado, and County State Senator Amy Scott Galey , were all present.
Various members of the Alamance County Council of Commissioners, former County Commissioners, former ACC administrators and local elected officials from various municipalities were also in attendance.
Gary Hubler, director of FWA Group Architects, which was retained as the architectural firm for the project, and Dave Anna, founder of Resolute Building Company, the construction contractor for the project, were also in attendance.
After the presentations, Gatewood called the celebration of the construction of the new center a “historic milestone” for the college.
“This dedication ceremony for the new Student Services Center building is a reminder of what the community college is, that is to say access, hope, opportunities and jobs…”, he said. -he declares. “Our goal in constructing this new building is to make registration, receipt of aid, application for financial aid and payment for the university as smooth as possible. This building removes many barriers by offering all of these services in one place.
CCA Board Chair Dr. Roslyn Crisp then spoke. Crisp noted that the college and its administrators have understood for years that ACC needs a “centralized area” where students can begin their college process.
“The CCA vision statement states, and I quote: ‘From access to success, to transforming the lives and communities we serve,” said Crisp. “The Student Services Center supports this mission of expanding access to higher education, by providing a welcoming and highly visible place on campus dedicated to helping students start their academic careers. “
Crisp added that the center represents “ACC’s continued commitment to serving the needs of the thousands of students who enroll here each year.”
Next, the chairman of the Alamance County Board of Commissioners, John Paisley. He spoke of the value ACC holds not only for Alamance County, but for the state as a whole.
“This new facility, and the college itself, is so, so positive for this county and the entire community across the state,” said Paisley.
Paisley also noted that he himself had taken two courses at ACC and that his two grandchildren had completed high school with associate degrees from ACC, which saved them money. money that had been set aside for higher education.
North Carolina Community College System President Thomas Stith III then delivered remarks. Stith III first mentioned how much he enjoys being at ACC, before explaining how the construction of the new center comes at a pivotal time.
“This first opening of this new student services building comes at a critical time in the history of our state,” said Stith III. “Communities across the state are engaging our students, and it is buildings like this that will serve as a hub not only to meet academic needs, but also the student needs that we as community colleges serve.” every day. “
Stith III added that North Carolina community colleges, from 2009 to 2019, more than 33% of the state’s workforce were impacted by the state’s community college system.
“1.7 million students participate in our workforce as of 2020, which translated into $ 60 billion [into the economy]He said. “So when we talk about investing in the North Carolina Community College System and investing in our students, we are investing in our communities, in our economy.”
All three of the Alamance County State Legislators – Representatives Riddle and Hurtado and Senator Galey – delivered remarks.
Riddle spoke first, thanking Gatewood for the progress made at ACC under his leadership. Riddle also shared how his mother instilled in him an “education romance,” a love to learn that the new center will hopefully help students discover and nurture that romance and love as well.
“With this place, this new facility, the student service center, I think we are opening the doors to a lot of young people and other people who are reorganizing their careers, to enjoy and, perhaps, discover at again this educational novel. Riddle said.
Hurtado then spoke, discussing the importance of ACC and the community college system in shaping the future of the state’s workforce. He stressed that the Student Services Center is an investment in the future because it will be there to help students throughout college, not just early on.
“I recognize the importance of the center because, as a community, we often think about what it takes for children to enter college,” Hurtado said. “But we rarely talk about what it takes for these students to be successful in college.”
Galey then spoke, thanking the countless people who have dedicated their lives to advancing ACC, and in turn the entire county. She noted that the average age of a community college student is 25 and explained how the new center will be of great help to non-traditional students.
“Often older students are reluctant to return to school because they are intimidated by the institution, by its physical presence, by the younger students and feel like they are going to be judged,” said Scott. “I hope this creates a warm and welcoming environment where people feel they can get the help and resources they need to continue their education.”
Elizabeth Brehler, Director of Registration Management at CCA, then spoke. Brehler said the ACC aims to get students from where they are to where they want to be and, she noted, it starts with “the front door experience. “.
“The campus visit experience for prospective students is one of the most important elements of our campus student recruitment activities and efforts,” she said. “Having this new state-of-the-art and more centralized student service [Center] will ensure that their first impression is a lasting impression.
Ruth Mann, a university transfer student, then spoke on behalf of the CCA students. Mann is also a Career and College Promise student, which allows her to earn an associate’s degree by the time she graduates from high school. Mann noted that the new center is a step towards greater accessibility for all students.
“I think this new student services building will be a big step forward for ACC in making some key departments, offices and staff more accessible to students,” Mann said. “By placing so many departments at the front of the college in one place, students will save time on their busy days to meet one-on-one with staff, financial aid, admissions and the business office.” , to name a few. “
Gatewood then introduced the three groups of ceremony attendees and gave the closing speech. The groups then took turns to turn over the land, signifying the start of construction of the project.