Editorial: Investment in the college has always paid dividends

Bladen Community College has turned the shovel on another investment.

For more than 50 years, the strategy has paid dividends to the people of this county. The latest is a $6.5 million Continuing Education and Workforce Development Building of nearly 20,000 square feet.

This facility will serve students in allied health, emergency medical and general education.

Many of us know about continuing education programs, but might not know them by that name. These give adults learning experiences in a number of disciplines. They may be occupational or cultural, and the times they are offered can vary.

High school equivalency, allied health and emergency medical services are just a few of the courses that are consistently offered. The college also listens to the community, doing its best to provide when there is interest expressed in a particular area by a number of people.

It’s basically been that way since 1968, when the college went full-scale. Cosmetology, executive secretarial science, business administration, industrial maintenance, automotive mechanics and nursing assistants were the biggest part then, with some continuing education programs in the evenings.

Investments followed. Land was donated by Roy Brisson, the college made additional purchases and the campus grew to 41 acres outside of Dublin.

Today there are 21 degree programs, 12 diploma programs and 47 offering certificates.

Sondra Guyton, the school’s vice president for continuing education, said even the name of the facility “conveys the heart of what we do every day in helping students continue their education at Bladen Community College.”

Said Dr. William Findt, the college president, “This will enable the college to continue to serve students in the allied health, emergency medical and general education fields for years to come. We are pleased for the support by the citizens of Bladen County who voted overwhelmingly in favor of the 2016 Connect NC Education bond that has made this building a reality.”

To jog the memory bank, that bond passed statewide with more than 65 percent of the vote in March 2016, including 67.5 percent in Bladen County. Help for state parks, including Jones Lake State Park and Singletary Lake State Park, were big drivers here.

Again, investment. Although the nation’s polarization was getting deeper, voters in the Old North State were clear that $2 billion to aid not only state parks but community colleges, the UNC system and the National Guard among others was a wise use of money.

Two years later came a hot Thursday afternoon in the summer, with dignitaries gathered, shovels at the ready and earth moving equipment already at work.

We’re thrilled to see the construction trend at the college. Our state’s economy has improved dramatically the last eight years.

Capitalizing upon that here at home is only natural.