ROCKINGHAM — City Council members on Tuesday finalized the construction and funding requirements for Richmond Community College’s new campus in downtown Rockingham.
The construction contract was awarded to the John M. Campbell Company, which submitted a $11,364,975 bid.
“This has been a long time coming, and I’m glad we’re able to sit here and have this as an agenda item,” City Manager Monty Crump said.
Construction can now begin even though there is still one funding source that is expected to wrap up their end of the deal by the second week of October, he said.
“We’re ready to go,” Crump said.
Council members then approved the slate of funding sources for the project. Funding for the RCC building from a variety of sources. Grants from the Cole Foundation and the Richmond Community Foundation each contributed $4,202,500 to the project.
The Leon Levine Foundation contributed $1 million, with another $1 million coming from RCC state bonds. And, an N.C. Department of Commerce grant for $94,340, a Cannon grant for $100,000 and a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan of $2,531,217 made up the total $13,130,557 project price tag.
Finally, what Crump called the “meat on the bone,” was the council’s approval of a budget ordinance required as a final step in authorizing the project.
Demolition of the R.W. Goodman building at West Franklin and South Lee streets is set to begin within the next 30 days, according to Crump. The campus to be built where the Goodman store once stood will be 44,000 square feet i size. It will be named the Kenneth and Claudia Robinette Building and will house the Leon Levine School of Business and Information Technology.
Classes at the new campus are expected to begin in the fall of 2019.
“I’d like to tell you how proud I am of this group,” Mayor Steve Morris said to members of the council and the audience. “(The council and city staff has) courage knowing they might face some criticism for even dreaming that this could come to downtown Rockingham.”
“I don’t know of another town our size that has anything similar to this and if it wasn’t for (the council members and city staff) it wouldn’t have happened,” Morris added. “There’s a lot of folks that want to be doom-sayers and say ‘well we can’t do that around here.’ Yes we can.”
The council members also voted unanimously to declare the Palisades Park swimming pool and the other parts of the park at 420 Hood St., across from Falling Creek Park, a public nuisance. Assistant City Manager John Massey wrote in an email to Morris that since 2015 the city has issued three notices regarding the condition of the swimming pool to owner Rockingham Recreation Foundation, but no action has been taken to improve the conditions.
The park is overgrown and littered with garbage and the pool has not been covered, creating a health hazard. Massey said the park has not been in use since it went out of business after the opening 18 years ago of Falling Creek Park, which across the street from Palisades Park.
Massey said the Rockingham Recreation Foundation is a “pretty much a defunct group.”
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]