After a delayed start, the much-awaited 12 classroom, $5 million addition to Mitchell Community College's Mooresville campus is almost complete.
College officials expect the project to be done this month, with students and faculty using the new facilities beginning in the fall 2011 semester.
The 30,000-square-foot expansion, which also includes two science labs and a multipurpose room capable of holding several hundred people, was originally slated for a 2009 opening but construction did not begin until February 2010. The project was delayed due to wastewater runoff requirements imposed by the town.
In addition, some design modifications were needed in order to comply with historical district regulations, according to college spokeswoman Kathy Holland.
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"The approval process took a little longer than we expected, but the work is now virtually complete and staff should be moving in during the summer," said Holland.
A 40 percent increase in enrollment over the past decade at Mitchell Community College's Mooresville center, at the corner of Iredell Avenue and Academy Street, was the major factor driving the need for more classroom space.
About 3,600 students currently attend classes in Mooresville and with the continued growth of the southern portion of Iredell County, college officials anticipate a further increase once the new facility is open.
"We are excited to be a part of a dynamic community that is growing rapidly," said college President Dr. Douglas Eason. "With that comes the need to serve more students in our curriculum and continuing education programs. The new facility enables us to do just that."
The new addition will mark the third expansion since the satellite campus opened in 1984.
The most recent expansion, which was completed in 2003, added seven classrooms as well as an updated reception area.
In addition, a new parking lot that can accommodate up to 70 cars was recently opened at the corner of North Academy and West Moore streets.
Curriculum courses currently offered at Mooresville include accounting, business administration, early childhood, information services, medical assisting and phlebotomy. Continuing education courses include occupational extension, community service, small business seminars, allied health and employability classes.
Eason suggested more may be coming.
"We are looking forward to adding more programs and training opportunities to support business and industry in Iredell County."
Funding for the $5 million project includes a $900,000 construction grant from the North Carolina Community College System and $670,380 from the Iredell County Education Facility bond referendum approved in 2005.
Additional private sector donations of $250,000 from the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation and $50,000 from the late Grady Shoe, the one-time owner of Mooresville Ford Mercury, have also been applied to the project costs, while the remainder, approximately $2.8 million is coming out of funds Iredell County allocated to the college for capital projects.