Randolph approves funds for RCC Liberty campus

Randolph County Commissioners

The Randolph County Board of Commissioners met Monday, March 4, considering utility funding, real estate purchases for Randolph Community College (RCC), and other issues.

RCC was seeking $1.5 million to acquire a 22-acre tract of land for the college’s new Liberty Center, designed for workforce development and expansion. It would be funded through accumulated Article 46 sales tax funds, according to interim county manager Will Massie.

“We want to be at the center of where the action is at this point and get closer to the megasite and other corporations that are going to be around that area,” said Richard Weldon, RCC’s VP for administrative services. “We wanted to have a prominent presence in Liberty,” at the corner of US 421 and N.C. Highway 49, roughly five miles away from the megasite project.

The RCC funding was approved.

“This pivotal decision demonstrates a shared commitment to advancing workforce development and creating opportunities for our community,” RCC President Shah Ardalan said in a statement. “The unwavering support from the Randolph County Commissioners reflects a shared dedication to providing unparalleled career training and fostering community growth. Together, we are building a foundation for continued success, innovation, and collaboration.”

The Town of Ramseur asked for an additional $2.25 million in funding for an expansion of an existing water and sewer project.

“The town is currently working on a $7 million water improvements project,” said Wooten Company regional manager John Grey. “Most of that money is being used to replace water lines that are old and that need to be replaced, fire hydrants and things like that.”

It would also see changes to the town’s chlorine treatment system, all funded under an existing grant from the Division of Water Infrastructure.

The extra funding would cover replacement of a sludge removal system and improvements to the disinfection system at the water treatment plant. A decision was pushed off until at least April so that more information could be gathered.

“I hate to spend money on something we don’t have enough information on,” said Commissioner David Allen. “We only got one page on this and that’s just not enough for us to go off of.”

A $1 million Golden Leaf Grant for the Farm, Food and Family Education Center was accepted by the board.

“This is the fruition of about a year-long process that we’ve spent talking with Golden Leaf,” said Cooperative Extension Director Kenny Sherin. “This process involved several meetings with Golden Leaf on the Community Block Grant system. Each year, they designate one of the regions of the state to participate in this type of program and the Piedmont Triad Council Region was the region this year.

While the grant was originally to be used for new construction, changes on the timeline meant it was refocused onto “equipment that would be needed to enhance our farm and agricultural education at the site,” Sherin said.

The Randolph County Board of Commissioners will next meet April 1.

By Ryan Henkel