‘Wish list’ worth #036;20 million

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 30, 2008

AHOSKIE – Twenty million dollars….that’s the bottom line on the cost associated with proposed new construction and upgrades to existing buildings at Roanoke-Chowan Community College.

At their monthly meeting on Tuesday night, the RCCC Board of Trustees placed their stamp of approval on a Master Facilities Plan (MFP) that looks at what the future holds for the college over the next five years (2009-2014). That approval did not obligate the college to spend any funds for construction or renovation.

“Having this master plan will help identify our future needs,” RCCC President Dr. Ralph Soney said to the trustees.

Dr. Soney noted that the state may soon place a community college bond referendum before the voters. The money, if approved, will be used by the 59 community colleges statewide to improve their facilities.

“We didn’t have a master plan in place the last time a state bond referendum was on the ballot,” Soney said. “Without that, we didn’t receive as much funding as we would have liked.”

Topping the RCCC “wish list” on the MFP is a new facility n an Allied Health building, one that comes with an estimated $9.46 million price tag.

“Health care is among the growing needs that we need to address,” Soney noted.

In descending order behind the new Allied Health building, Dr. Soney listed the next five priorities that need to be addressed. They are (with cost estimate in parenthesis) as follows:

#2: Jernigan Building renovations ($5.02 million)

#3: Freeland Building renovations ($4.19 million)

#4: Young Building renovations ($1.09 million)

#5: Industrial Skills Building renovations ($98,565)

#6: Campus way finding and signage system ($262,597).

According to the MFP, as submitted by JKF Architecture of Greenville, the proposed new Allied Health Building would consist of 36,872 square feet enclosed in two stories. It would include classrooms, medical/health labs, Applied Science labs, office space and a community room. It would be constructed adjacent to the Freeland Building near the Modlin Road on the north end of the 36-acre campus.

In regards to the proposed plans for the existing facilities, the architectural report noted that numerous “spot” renovations over the years to the Jernigan Building have stretched the capacity of the building’s HVAC and electrical systems. “Wear and tear” was also evident in the building. The architect suggested making this structure an administrative building and eliminating the classrooms.

General upgrades were also suggested for the Freeman Building and Young Building. It was noted that both these buildings have available space due to the cancellation of programs offered at the college.

The Freeland Building was also noted to have undergone several renovations over the years that have stretched the capacity of its HVAC and electrical systems. Wear and tear was also noted.

The Industrial Skills Building was deemed as currently adequate. It does have space currently leased to an outside tenant. The architect’s suggestion was for the college to utilize that space to house the Building and Grounds office/storage instead of constructing or adding on to the current Building and Grounds facility, which is 20-plus years old.

In regards to the campus way finding and signage system, the MFP suggested signage and identification on all buildings, campus directional signage and security stations.

One final suggestion by the architect was to demolish the old Cosmetology Building. The report noted that this two-story facility, one of the campus’ original buildings, is of “antiquated construction and is only being used on the 1st floor.” The architect said renovations to this building would not be cost effective.

At the close of the MFP presentation, board member Sue Lassiter asked if the trustees could have more time to study the plan prior to approval.

“We’re up against the clock; we have until June 2 to show the needs (we have), but (after being approved) this plan can be amended or altered,” Soney said.

Meanwhile, Trustee Albert Vann noted the college has some problematic areas in need of immediate attention, including electrical panels and fire safety issues within the buildings.

Trustee Ronald Gatling motioned for approval of the MFP with Trustee Virginia Spruill offering a second. The measure was approved without objection.