HAMLET — Richmond Community College’s Board of Trustees approved this week an agreement drafted between the college and Rockingham to build a school of business and information technology.
The project is estimated to cost as much as $11 million and will be paid for by state bond money and external grants.
The 40,000-square-foot building in the heart of the city will house RichmondCC’s Business Department, which includes programs in business, accounting, healthcare management, and information technology.
“When approached by leaders of the city of Rockingham about a presence in the downtown area of the city, we recognized the opportunity to strengthen the college’s programming, gain much needed instructional space and contribute to the economy and quality of life in the community,” said Dr. Dale McInnis, RCC president.
The Richmond Community College School of Business and Information Technology would be located at the intersection of Franklin and Lee streets.
Rockingham Mayor Steve Morris said the city was excited about the project and the possibilities it would present in changing “the complexion of downtown for decades to come.”
“As a school concentrated in the areas of business and technology, it would blend in nicely with the governmental offices that are located in downtown,” Morris said. “The additional people, professors and students, that a college facility would bring to downtown on a daily basis would certainly spur an interest in businesses to serve them while they are here. I think the city would certainly experience positive growth on the retail end.”
The agreement will be considered by the Rockingham City Council at its June 14 meeting.
According to the agreement, Rockingham would be responsible for the purchase of the properties commonly known as the RW Goodman Building, including the parking lot, Long Building and McNair parking lot. The city would also be responsible for project construction and renovation and would own the facility until construction is complete.
Once complete, the college would purchase the building from the city using $1 million received from the Connect NC bond. The remaining funds from the Connect NC bond is to be used on main campus to expand and renovate existing facilities.
“Combining this set of programs together with the Small Business Center and Customized Training program would leverage all of the college’s business and entrepreneurial expertise and talent together, optimizing our service to business, industry and students,” McInnis said. “This project would provide much needed space as the college continues to grow and provide new and expanded educational opportunities to the citizens of Richmond County.”
Wylie Bell is director of marketing and communications at Richmond Community College.