by Jeff Lowrance
SALISBURY, N.C. — Severing a red rope, the strong kind used by used by firefighters, with a “jaws-of-life” cutter, public safety officials, college leaders, and county commissioners officially opened Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s first 21st-century LEED classroom building Monday afternoon.
The red rope and jaws-of-life took the place of a ribbon and scissors as RCCC dedicated Building 400, the first new facility built on the college’s North Campus in more than 30 years. With fire trucks and emergency vehicles on display and an honor guard of law enforcement, EMT and fire safety personnel, RCCC used the dedication event to focus on the programs housed in the new building and the college’s commitment to the environment.
“Building 400 will be the home of programs critically important to the community,” said Ray Paradowski, chair of the RCCC Board of Trustees. “For the first time in RCCC’s history, the college has a facility dedicated to public service training, workforce development and continuing and corporate education programs. The building is a 39,000-square-foot investment in public service, jobs training and the community.”
Programs based in the new Building 400 include law enforcement; fire, rescue, and emergency medical services; entry-level healthcare; and pre-college studies – often a first-stop for displaced workers returning to school.
Building 400 offers a number of specialized classrooms and other learning spaces, including classrooms for nurse aide and phlebotomy training, a state-of-the-art aerobics and weight training room for public safety training that includes physical fitness, and a mock jail cell for detention officer training.
The building also offers computer labs and equipment needed to teach software used in today’s business world. Space for WorkKeys and career readiness certification is available so students can assess and develop critical work skills for job placement, retention, and promotion.
The Pre-College Studies spaces are designed for multiple learning and teaching strategies to meet the varied learning styles of adult students. These classrooms include technology to transition students to college programs and the workplace.
All learning and work spaces have comfortable and functional furnishings, recognizing that students and staff work in these spaces for extended periods of time. Larger computer monitors minimize eye strain.
“This building represents well the community colleges’ role as the state’s economic emergency room,” explained RCCC President Carol Spalding. “Working with displaced workers through continuing education demonstrates the college’s support of public service occupations, our police, our firefighters, our EMTs, our certified nursing assistants and others that sustain our communities.
“This beautiful building also symbolizes the beginning of the college’s new commitment to 21st century jobs, including the new green jobs for which we will develop programs at this college,” Spalding said.
Building 400 also is RCCC’s first LEED facility. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design. LEED is a national rating system, established by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2001, to measure the sustainability of buildings and building sites based on a point system with 69 possible credits. The building’s LEED features include:
- Innovative storm water management;
- Bicycle racks and preferred parking spaces for fuel-efficient vehicles;
- 80-percent water use reduction for irrigation;
- 42-percent water use reduction inside the building;
- 19-percent energy use reduction;
- 75 percent of all construction waste was recycled;
- 25 percent of building materials were recycled products;
- 37 percent of building materials were purchased regionally, all bricks used were made in Rowan County;
- Wood products certified by Forest Stewardship Council;
- Use of low VOC interior finishes – paints, adhesives, sealants and carpet;
- Zero use of ozone-depleting CFC refrigerants;
- Carpeting made from recycled materials;
- HVAC system circulates fresh air to reduce carbon dioxide levels indoors;
- Abundant natural lighting reduces the need for electric lighting during daytime hours; and
- Exterior fixtures and materials reduce light pollution and heat-island effect.
“Building 400 sets the new standard for the college’s energy use, our commitment to sustainability and the quality of the classroom environment we aspire to for all our students and programs,” Spalding said.
The total cost to construct Building 400 was $8,866,494. The State of North Carolina, though a 2000 bond referendum for university and college facilities, provided $5,207,129, with Rowan County giving $3,659,365 in matching funds.
“In North Carolina, it’s the responsibility of the local county commissions to fund the construction and maintenance of county college facilities,” explained Paradowski. “The state funding from the bond referendum was unique and greatly appreciated. We also thank Rowan County for its support.”