Construction is well underway on Alamance Community College’s second bond-funded project, a $6.7 million new student services center along the front of the college’s main campus in Graham, facing Jimmie Kerr Road.
Steel columns for the new facility have been erected, and construction is on target for completion by the end of this year, ACC trustee vice chairman Gen. Blake Williams said Monday night.
The two-story, 27,400-square-foot student services center will be located between the Powell/Allied Health and Literacy buildings. Designed by FWA Group, an architectural firm in Charlotte, the forthcoming student services center will house seven academic departments and business services that are currently housed in the Main and Gee buildings.
The forthcoming student services center is one of several projects being funded by the $39.6 million bond package that the county’s voters approved for ACC in November 2018.
ACC’s first bond project, construction of a $17.6 million biotechnology center of excellence at the northeast corner of the Graham campus beside the I-85/40 interchange, is also scheduled for completion later this year.
In the meantime, ACC officials plan to ask the Graham planning board to grant a waiver to the city’s sign ordinance, which would allow ACC to erect a sign for that facility at the third floor level.
The city’s current ordinance that governs exterior building signage does not allow for signs to extend higher than the second floor. ACC’s request for the sign waiver is scheduled to be presented to Graham’s planning board at its next meeting on Tuesday night, Williams told the trustees.
In other business, ACC’s trustees voted this week to hire H.H. Architects of Raleigh to conduct a feasibility study for future capital projects that could include facelifts for existing classrooms and building exteriors on the Graham campus.
H.H. Architects will work with the college’s administration to prioritize projects that would be funded by a $7.9 million allocation is estimated to receive from a “State Capital and Infrastructure Fund” (SCIF) that was included in the budget that the General Assembly passed late last year.
The total allocation will be parceled out over each of the next four fiscal years – for a total of $1,984,676 each fiscal year – the trustees’ vice chairman Gen. Blake Williams said Monday night.
In the meantime, H.H. Architects will work with the college’s administration to identify the best potential uses for the funds and develop conceptual floor plans for building improvements.
The firm’s $35,200 fee for the feasibility study will be funded by county capital funding for the current fiscal year, said Williams, who also serves as chairman of the trustees’ building and grounds committee.
In other business, ACC’s trustees also voted unanimously to approve:
• A $94,368 contract with Isley Construction of Charlotte for construction of a roof on the “Native Prairie” grass observation deck on the back side of the Graham campus;
• A $67,750 contract with RND Architects of Durham to design the first phase of the Bill & Nancy Covington Education Center on 47 acres of farmland along South Jim Minor Road in the Hawfields community.
ACC’s trustees also voted unanimously, 12-0, this week to amend the budget for another project to be funded by the 2018 bond package, which calls for renovations to the library and childcare center, as well as classrooms and offices that are housed in three buildings on the main campus.
ACC’s administration had asked the trustees to amend the budget for that project, from to use $1.4 million in SCIF funding to cover the current estimated cost of $4.9 million for those renovations.
Williams told his fellow trustees this week that a third-party firm has estimated that the total cost for the childcare, library, classroom, and office renovations will exceed $5.4 million, based on ongoing price escalation that continues to be prevalent throughout the construction industry.
ACC’s trustees have scheduled a “beam-signing ceremony” for the new student services center later this month.