Richmond County Daily Journal
Richmond Community College held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday to kick-off the renovation and expansion of the John E. Forte building.
“This wouldn’t be possible without the leadership of Richmond County,” said RCC President Dale McInnis to a crowd gathered inside the Forte building, on the Hamlet campus.
By moving engineering, energy, industrial, and technical training classes into one building, McInnis said the college hopes to have a model for training the workforce.
“Eight years ago, this college and Richmond County identified the need to better prepare employees in engineering, industrial and technical careers,” McInnis said.
The $3.2 million project will involve expanding the current 14,000-square-foot building by adding another 11,000-square-feet and also renovating and modernizing the existing structure. The ceremony marked the completion of a capital campaign that locally raised more than $366,000 by G.R. Kindley and Thad Ussery, co-chairmen of the Forte Project Steering Committee.
The center in the new wing will be named the Joseph J. Prischak Center for Engineering Technology after Joseph Prischak, chairman of the Plastek Group.
The expansion will be named The Cole Wing for a donation from the Cole Foundation. Training labs will be named after the Pee Dee Electric Cooperative and the Cole Foundation. The new computer lab will be named after the Richmond Community Foundation. Classrooms will be named after Jerome and Hattie Davis and SLIP Management, Knit-Rite/Therafirm, Mr. and Mrs. G.R. Kindley, Dr. and Mrs. Dale McInnis, and Rotary of Rockingham. Some of the programs will be named after the donors, including Thad and Mary Jane Ussery Welding Technology, Cascades Industrial Systems Technology, and Progress Energy Electrical Utility Substation Technology.
Architects are LS3P Associates Ltd. of Wilmington. Metcon, Inc. of Pembroke is the general contractor.
McInnis credited many people with helping make this project possible including John Forte, the man whom the building was named after. Forte “served the children of Richmond County as a teacher and the students of RCC as a trustee,” McInnis said.
“This is a celebration of both his legacy and the future of our students, but we would not be here if we did not have a shared vision that reaches across the community,” McInnis said.
He thanked both the Golden LEAF Foundation and the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration for grant funding.
“This college is one heck of an asset to the county,” said Prischak, who made the initial donation.
Everyone in attendance seemed excited about the future of the college and about the expansion of the Forte building.
“Today, we celebrate what can happen when committed partners and stakeholders join together in a common cause and make the unlikely possible, and the possible a reality,” McInnis said.
The project is expected to be completed in January 2014.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.