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RCC to create Liberty campus

ASHEBORO — The addition of a campus in Liberty is part of Randolph Community College’s area future plans approved by the College’s Board of Trustees and presented to the Randolph County Commissioners on Jan. 22. 


Part of the RCC 2.0 initiative and strategic plan includes improvements to and the expansion of its current facilities and the purchase of a 22-acre property in Liberty. The changes allow RCC to better serve its current students and mean job training for current and future industries.


“This marks a significant milestone in our journey toward RCC 2.0, a comprehensive initiative aimed at enhancing the overall educational experience for our students and strengthening our ties with the community,” RCC President/CEO Dr. Shah Ardalan said. 


“The expansion of our college is not just about physical growth; it’s a testament to our commitment to providing accessible, high-quality education to everyone in our county. We also are partnering with local industries to train their current and future workforce.”


The purchase of the Liberty property received strong support from the Trustees and the Randolph County Commissioners. The seller and RCC have agreed on the price of the property, which is located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 421 and N.C. 49, and have entered the due diligence period with other approval processes in motion.


RCC has the full support of Liberty Mayor Filmore York and Liberty Chamber President Shirley Pabst, who both requested an RCC presence in Liberty in letters to Ardalan.


“Understanding that the foundation of a high quality of life begins with employment, we recognize the crucial role education and training plays in moving Randolph County residents into new job opportunities,” York wrote. 


“We firmly believe that Randolph Community College is the key to success. Considering Liberty’s proximity to the epicenter of this industrial growth, we propose that Randolph Community College explore establishing a satellite campus in our town. Such a strategic move would not only benefit RCC and its workforce development partners but also position RCC as an integral partner for Liberty, contributing significantly to our economic prosperity.”


The primary use of the Liberty property will be for workforce development and expansion. It also could be a multi-use site, allowing universities and industries to co-locate with the College. 


The final design and construction will be coordinated and aligned with RCC’s future partners and county plans for the area, and the estimated construction time for the first buildings on site is three years. 


The site and other planned projects will generate additional funding for RCC.


“Our world changed in December 2021 when Toyota made the announcement that they were going to locate at the megasite,” Board Chair Reynolds Lisk Jr. said. “This pivotal moment not only holds immense promise for our community but also presents us with a unique opportunity to align our college’s growth with the changing landscape. 


“The decision by Toyota not only underscores the attractiveness of our region but also positions RCC as a key player in supporting the evolving needs of our workforce. The forthcoming renovations and expansion project will play a crucial role in equipping our institution to meet the demands of a dynamic and rapidly evolving economy.”


Other projects also were presented at the meeting with details to come.


“We’re upgrading our community college facilities because we're committed to providing quality education and opportunities for our residents,” Randolph County Commissioners Chair Darrell Frye said. “This effort aligns with our broader vision for economic development, as a well-educated workforce is essential for attracting businesses and fostering innovation. By investing in the education of our residents, we're also investing in the long-term success and sustainability of our community.”