ROCKINGHAM — The City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution to move forward with applying for a $6.1 million loan to pay for the construction of the new Richmond Community College Campus in downtown Rockingham.
The project will go out to bids on June 26, according to Mayor Steve Morris. RCC President Dale McInnis said construction will “hopefully” begin this Fall.
“I appreciate the opportunity that the city of Rockingham has made to advance our college, our county and our entire community — as well as the city — with the building that we hope to start very shortly in downtown Rockingham,” McInnis said during the public hearing prior to the council’s vote. “Without any hesitation, we fully endorse and support this funding and we look forward to making this vision a reality.”
The resolution passed with a unanimous vote.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said council member Bennett Dean. “I’m glad to see we’re at this stage.”
Once construction is completed, the loan will be converted from a construction loan to a permanent loan of $5.1 million to be paid off over the course of 25 years, Crump explained. Under the agreement between the city and the college, RCC will purchase the completed property for $1 million.
The loan amount is subject to fluctuate as the project progresses, to be made final by a later resolution. The city is seeking the loan from the Rural Development division of the United States Department of Agriculture.
The city expects to be able to repay the loan without having to increase taxes.
Following the vote, Crump thanked McInnis for the “great relationship we’ve had” over the course of the process.
The council officially approved plans for the new campus in June 2016 which, at the time, was estimated to cost $12 million.
The new campus will be 44,000 square feet in the footprint of the old R.W. Goodman store on the corner of West Franklin and South Lee streets. It will be named the Kenneth and Claudia Robinette Building and will house the Leon Levine School of Business and Information Technology.
The council cleared the last hurdle in the way of the project last year by securing a new alley that would let RCC receive deliveries at the campus and set out its trash for collection.
Classes at the new building are expected to begin in fall 2019.
Also on Tuesday, the council approved the sale of the old City of Rockingham Library located at 302 Leak St. The city held an auction for the property on May 24 with bids starting at $10,000. After competing bids between two potential buyers, the value increased to $71,000 and was sold to William McDonald of Aberdeen.
The motion to approve the sale passed with a unanimous vote.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]