The June 14 meeting of the Rockingham City Council had to be one of the most exciting city council meetings that I have ever been a part of.
That night we forged a partnership with Richmond Community College that will benefit hundreds or maybe even thousands of students, young and older adults alike, by providing them a fresh, new, and innovative place to study. This Business and Information Technology Center will be a catalyst for learning new job skills for the 21st century. I am confident that Dr. (Dale) McInnis and his staff will develop new programs and studies that will fit the requirements of new and expanding businesses in this region who will be excited to hire the well qualified graduates of these Richmond Community College programs.
Students from Richmond and Scotland County will benefit from this multi-million dollar investment that is being made for their benefit. I am confident that when this Business and Information Technology Center opens its doors it will also attract students from across the Sandhills region of both Carolinas. Our citizens have learned to expect excellence and innovation from Richmond Community College and that is why we can enter this partnership with confidence. This will be a place where business ideas and plans can be made, nurtured through a coaching process, and guidance be given to new, start-up businesses during their first few years to assure their sustainability and success.
A building of this size, style and design will be a welcome addition to the revitalization efforts in Downtown Rockingham. Five days a week there will be RichmondCC professors, staff and students in and out of the building. Some will need a place to enjoy a cup of coffee, some will want a tasty pastry treat, and some will need a quick lunch as they budget their time between classes. Some existing businesses will expand to try to meet those needs. Some new entrepreneurs will see an opportunity to open their own business, the one they have dreamed about for years, and now they will have a chance to try to make it work.
Many, many hours of thought and planning went into making this college expansion idea a workable reality. I wish to thank Monty Crump and John Massey from the city’s staff for their diligence and flexibility; Dr. McInnis, his Staff, and Board of Trustees for recognizing the potential this project this has for Richmond C C and the entire area that they serve. RichmondCC has prospered and grown. In fact, they have outgrown their classroom space at a time that they are in need of more classrooms to continue their growth. This facility will solve the space problem.
There are several private funders who have a significant interest in this project and they are considering major philanthropic investments in Rockingham and Richmond County. They see this project as a potentially historic opportunity for our community. Nothing is definite, but we hope to have more to share with you in the coming months.
Steve Morris is the mayor of Rockingham. This statement was read aloud by Morris during Tuesday night’s meeting.