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ACC officials want special designation for Burlington ‘campus’ to get extra state $$

Alamance Community College officials will travel to Raleigh, along with state senator Amy Galey, later this week to ask the State Board of Community Colleges (SBCC) to designate the Dillingham Center in Burlington as a “multi-campus center,” ACC president Dr. Algie Gatewood told the college’s trustees during their latest meeting.

The “multi-campus center” (MCC) designation would provide ACC with an additional $637,951 in annual state funding, starting next year and contingent upon the General Assembly appropriating the MCC funds for the Dillingham Center, Gatewood said Monday night.

ACC opened the Dillingham Center around 2008 to house workforce development courses (such as real estate licensure and notary public certification); the Small Business Center; programs requiring state licensure, such as cosmetology; human resources development; and adult basic education, among others. The ACC site is located within the former Burlington Manufacturer’s Outlet Center off Chapel Hill Road.

Gatewood said he’s asked Galey to accompany him, along with his senior staff and trustee chairman Blake Williams, to the state board’s monthly meeting, scheduled Thursday and Friday, to help “re-present the request” to have the Dillingham Center designated as a multi-campus center.

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The SBCC’s finance committee heard a presentation on the request from ACC officials last month, but asked Gatewood and his staff to return this month to provide additional information on one of the 10 criteria required for the multi-campus center designation, he told the trustees Monday night.

While “we have powerful letters” from each member of the county’s legislative delegation,” Gatewood said Monday night that he asked Galey to accompany his staff “since she’s sort of the most senior member of our local delegation.”

ACC is required to meet 10 criteria to receive the MCC designation but didn’t fully meet one of the requirements, Gatewood explained. That item had to do with the distance between the two campuses, he said.

One of the criteria outlined in SBCC policy stipulates that the proposed MCC location must be “at least 10 miles from the main campus” or another multi-campus center location, Gatewood told the trustees Monday night.

Located at 1304 Plaza Drive in Burlington, the Dillingham Center is approximately five miles from the main campus along Jimmie Kerr Road in Graham, based on a written presentation that ACC provided to the state board last month.

The Dillingham Center “is located in one of the most impoverished areas of our city and our county,” Gatewood told the trustees. “Those students can’t get here from there; they don’t feel like they belong here.”

Additionally, the Dillingham Center houses programs that “fit nicely there [and] are not designed to work here,” Gatewood said, adding that, in recent years upwards of 400 full-time equivalent students have been enrolled at Dillingham (during the 2019-20 fiscal year), surpassing another one of the criteria for the MCC designation. (The SBCC requires a minimum enrollment of 300 “budget” full-time equivalent students at a multi-campus center.)

“That funding could be used to provide wraparound support [such as additional counseling and retention assistance] for students” enrolled in programs and courses at the Dillingham Center, Gatewood elaborated in a subsequent interview with The Alamance News. “It can also be used to have more specialized staff to work with the students there who need more academic support.”

ACC’s trustees were not asked to vote to approve the pending request to have the Dillingham Center designated as a multi-campus center.

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