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Commissioners OK $1.5M for land for new RCC satellite campus

Janet Imrick

Randolph Hub


ASHEBORO — More than 20 acres of land in Liberty are on track to become home to a new satellite campus for Randolph Community College (RCC).


At their March 4 meeting, Randolph County Commissioners approved nearly $1.5 million to buy land where US 421 intersects with NC Highway 49.


RCC President Dr. Shah Ardalan presented the request to purchase 21.95 acres at 5269 NC Highway 49 North in Liberty.


“We want to be at the center of where the action is at this point, a bit closer to the [CAM] Megasite and other corporations that are going to be around that area,” Ardalan said. “We want to have a prominent presence in Liberty.”


The $1,498,000 to purchase the land will come from funds already collected through the Article 46 sales tax. Commissioners voted unanimously to approve it.


According to RCC, the Liberty campus would be a multi-use site for workforce development and expansion, and universities and industries would be able to co-locate with RCC.


Construction is expected to take three years.


All the speakers at the public hearing at the commissioners' meeting were in favor of the purchase. 


Liberty Mayor Filmore York said the proximity to the highway makes it a convenient location. “This will serve everything from Climax, Red Cross, Grays Chapel, Ramseur, Franklinville, Staley, Coal Ridge, anything within 25 miles,” he said.


Shirley Pabst, president of the Liberty Chamber of Commerce, said, “I know a lot of businesses need to send their employees off for education, and they have to go to Asheboro or do it online. To have it in your backyard is an asset.”


Steven Maness, former department head of RCC's Industrial Programs, said, “I’ve taught about a thousand people in Randolph County the trades. I know how important it is, what we're growing into in Randolph County. I know what RCC did for my life. I know what it can do in others' lives.”


Interim County Manager Will Massie said the Article 46 fund has about $5 million available. That funding helped establish RCC's Continuing Education and Industrial, Cosmetology, Photography, and Allied Health Centers.


RCC is developing its 2024-2030 strategic plan and unveiled the RCC 2.0 initiative to enhance campus infrastructure and build stronger ties with communities.


Ardalan told commissioners, “We made a promise when we created RCC 2.0 that we're going to be more relevant to the needs of the community, our students, and our employers, and we're going to be focused on careers.”