DUBLIN — Beaming as much as the hot sun overhead, Bladen Community College officials celebrated a new building with a ceremonial shovel turning Wednesday morning.
The Continuing Education and Workforce Development Building on the western side of campus is a $6.5 million project. The facility of 19,967 square feet will serve students in allied health, emergeny medical and general education.
“We are pleased for the support by the citizens of Bladen County who voted overwhelming in favor of the 2016 Connect NC Education bond that has made this building a reality,” said college President Dr. William Findt. “We thank the Bladen County commissioners for their approval and support for this building.”
When opened, the new building will include a 125-seat teaching auditorium, conference room, two emergency medical services labs, two science labs and five classrooms. Faculty and staff offices for the continuing education department will also be inside.
“The groundbreaking ceremony marks the beginning of construction for the Continuing Education and Workforce Development Building, a building that even by name, conveys the heart of what we do every day in helping students continue their education at Bladen Community College,” said Sondra Guton, the vice president for continuing education.
The 20-minute program appeased more than a couple hundred sun-baked guests with succinct remarks from Findt, county commissioner chairman Ray Britt, Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Dennis Troy, college student ambassador Nasheika Kelly and Guyton. The Rev. Cameron McGill of Dublin Baptist Church opened the ceremony with an eloquent prayer of gratitude and hope.
LS3P is the architect and Graka Builders Inc. is the contractor. The swiftly moving ceremony was punctuated at times with the clank of earth-moving trucks in the background, all of which was welcomed by smiles and chuckles acknowledging progress at work.
The building will be a one story slab-on-grade structure with mechanical platforms above the ceiling, load-bearing metal stud walls, steel roof trusses, standing seam metal roofing and brick veneer exterior walls, the college says on its website. Site improvements will include asphalt paving, ramps, signs, lights, new asphalt paving and concrete sidewalks, new landscaping, new underground storm drain collection system, and new site lighting.
Findt said the college is hoping for another ground-breaking ceremony in about a month’s time, this one for a nearly $2 million building of more than 9,000 square feet connected to the college’s science, technology, engineering and math curriculum, more commonly known as STEM.
“This didn’t come easy,” Britt said, describing the process incorporating years of planning and fiscal appropriation.
Troy’s enthusiastic message told those gathered, “Bladen Community College brings hope, opportunity and jobs to the residents of Bladen County.”
Kelly, ticketed for the Class of 2020 in early childhood education, expressed gratitude on behalf of all students past, present and future.
Guyton assured, “This is not the end of our journey; in fact, it is the beginning. What lies ahead are opportunities and challenges.”
Each of which will be better met with the college’s newest addition.
Turning a shovel during the ceremonial ground-breaking on Tuesday were, from left, Hayes Petteway of the college’s trustees, Rep. William Brisson, college Vice President Sondra Guyton, trustees Vice Chairman Frank Gemma, county commissioners Chairman Ray Britt, college President Dr. William Findt, trustees Chairman Dr. Dennis Troy, trustee Ricky Leinwand, trustee Larry Hammond, county commissioner Russell Priest, county commissioner Arthur Bullock, student ambassador Nasheika Kelly and Clerk of Court Niki Dennis.
Alan Wooten can be reached at 910-247-9132 or email@example.com.