After five years of planning and fund-raising, Richmond Community College in Hamlet will break ground on the expansion and renovation of the John E. Forte Building on Dec. 13.
RCC President Dale McInnis told the RCC Board of Trustees Tuesday night that 10 qualified bidders are interested in the project, which will provide much needed classroom and lab space for the college’s engineering and energy programs. Bids will be opened Nov. 20 and approved by the board at a Nov. 29 meeting. The building should ready for spring semester 2014.
The board approved naming the Joseph J. Prischak Center for Engineering Technology within the Forte Building. Prischak is the chairman of the board of The Plastek Group, which made the pace-setting donation to the project. A naming plan for the other spaces in the $3.2 million project was also approved by the board.
RCC Vice President for Instruction Anthony Clarke said the college is beginning the required planning process to offer Mechatronics Engineering Technology, a program that blends the skills students learn in two existing programs: Industrial Systems Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology. Today’s industries want employees who understand hydraulics, electricity, programmable logic controllers, and automation, he said. The program is slated to begin fall 2014.
Clarke also updated the board on the efforts of the department chairs and lead instructors on meeting students’ needs.
Susan Long, lead instructor in the Health Information Technology program, briefed the board on the key elements of the program that teaches students about collecting, analyzing, and maintaining health care records as well as coding records for billing purposes. She said she is beginning the process of having the new program nationally certified so graduates can sit for a national exam and add those credentials to their resumes. With new coding regulations for Medicare and Medicaid becoming effective October 2014, she said RCC graduates will be valuable assets to prospective employers.
A workforce analysis by the Southeast North Carolina Regional Economic Development Partnership spotlighted RCC and other community colleges for their role in economic development. McInnis shared the document and a news article that highlights partnerships and the need for a better educated workforce.