In a unique partnership to promote economic growth in downtown Kannapolis, city leaders and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College trustees are taking the college’s cosmetology and related programs downtown.
The college’s cosmetology program – along with the certified nursing assistant and emergency medical technology programs – serve more than 700 community college and Cabarrus County high school students.
The programs are currently housed in three different storefronts of Cloverleaf Plaza. With the current facility’s lease expiring soon, the college began looking for a larger space. The new location, previously a Belk and a towel store, will provide room for growth – with 28,000 square feet for the three programs in one location. The college has signed a 20-year lease and will begin renovations as soon as possible, making it ready for use in May 2015.
The city of Kannapolis responded to a request from the college’s board of trustees for relocation assistance by providing $1.5 million in relocation funds from Cabarrus County as well as an additional $150,000 economic development grant from the city. The college has several funding sources for the project that total a little more than $2 million. The move is expected to bring up to 300 people to downtown Kannapolis each day.
“We believe this is the first time a city has contributed to a community college capital project,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College president. “We are very grateful for support from the city of Kannapolis. Unlike the county, they’re not required to support us. This may be a first-of-its-kind economic development collaboration.”
“We have one goal in mind, and that’s to make our community better. The secret of reinvigorating downtown is having more people downtown,” said Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant.
“We are very excited and pleased that the community college will have a presence in downtown,” said Hinnant. “We look forward to the students, faculty and clients of the programs studying and working in our downtown area. This is a natural fit for the community college to be near the North Carolina Research Campus. Any time you have the energy of young people and faculty, you create a dynamic atmosphere, and we are thrilled to have them in our downtown.”
“We want to give the students the experience of a retail operation. This gives us storefront access in one location,” said Spalding. “Having a consolidated facility will be less expensive to operate and will create a safer and more secure environment.
“Three hundred people are in (the current) building every day,” said Spalding. “The new location is within walking distance of (North Carolina) Research Campus, where students can access the library, labs and classes.
“It’s a triple win for the college, the students and the community.”