DCCC continues expansion

Sep. 03, 2014 @ 10:27 AM

Davidson County Community College continues to expand its borders with recent land acquisition and road construction that will improve access to the college.

Dr. Mary Rittling, president of DCCC, presented the state of this ongoing progress to the Davidson County Board of Commissioners during its regular Aug. 26 meeting. She discussed the development of the Link campus, an extension of the college's main campus on an adjoining property across Business 85. Rittling also summarized related road construction taking place on Business 85 and the recent purchase of additional land across Old Greensboro Road from the campus.

“In 2009, we received a gift of land from furniture giant Henry Link's family,” Rittling said of the 183 acres donated across the highway from the college. “Shortly after the gift of the Link campus was announced, the High Point Metropolitan Planning Organization came forward with funds to proceed with a study of Business 85. This was in order to facilitate the road improvements needed to move people onto and off of our campus and to provide new access to reach the Link campus.

“Thanks to the MPO working in coordination with NCDOT and local leaders, a plan was developed for those B-85 improvements, the estimated cost of which is $11 million.”

Rittling said the college received an estate gift in excess of $10 million since the road construction began, and thanks to the donation, the college's trustees and DCCC Foundation Board were able to commit $1 million to the road project. North Carolina Department of Transportation Division 9 board member Jake Alexander, who represents areas of the Piedmont, also secured $600,000 in federal safety money to offset the cost of the road improvements.

In June 2012, East Carolina University announced a partnership with DCCC that would locate the university's dental clinic on the community college's campus. Rittling anticipates the clinic will open in November, and said its presence underscored the need for road improvements.

That construction project is just one of many that led to the acquisition of more land by DCCC. Rittling said the final two buildings on the Link campus are soon to be completed, and the overcrowding led leadership to further expand its reach.

“In the summer, the DCCC Foundation acquired 164 acres across Old Greensboro Road from the campus,” Rittling said, “providing additional opportunity for strategic development and making the Business 85 improvements even more critical.”

According to Rittling, the land acquisition was made to protect the campus and secure the property for future college needs and development. She did not name specific projects that could take place on the newly-acquired property, but did mention a plan constructed by Rose & Associates, a consulting firm that in 2012 began working with DCCC.

The plan calls for a 3,000-seat multi-purpose arena for sports and concerts as one way the college could make enormous financial strides. Brinkley Gymnasium, where the college's basketball and volleyball teams currently play their home games, is insufficient to support the number of people who attend the events.

Rittling applauded the commissioners' willingness to consider erecting a new sports complex in the county. The board discussed a complex, per the request of Commissioner Todd Yates, during its first monthly meeting Aug. 12.

“I want to extend my compliments on behalf of the college's board of trustees, [DCCC] Foundation board of directors and the students for your willingness to explore the potential for recreational facilities,” Rittling said. “These are dynamic times. It is the expectation of our citizens and the students who attend the college, that while we look for the pursuit of quality education on our campus, we also know that our students have an interest in the quality of life here.”

She went on to explain that in order to keep students invested in the community once they graduate, there must be some incentive for them to raise families in Davidson County. Youth sports and recreational facilities, Rittling said, represent an investment in the community's future.

“The millennials, the young adults and those maturing into adulthood are those whose expectations should matter as we look at the initiatives in our county.”

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or kennedy@tvilletimes.com.