Study: College needs space

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College needs to double its space to fit in all of its courses and programs as enrollment rises in the years ahead, a recent analysis by a Carolinas architectural planning and design firm concluded.

MBAJ Architecture, which has offices in Charlotte, Raleigh and Shelby and in Lexington, S.C., found the college's north campus in Salisbury needs an additional 132,000 square feet just to meet current demand. The campus has 263,000 square feet of space.

"Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has real space needs," Rob Johnson of MBAJ Architecture said. "In order to meet their current needs, they actually require 50 percent more space."

MBAJ presented a preliminary draft of a facility master plan to the college's board of trustees June 27.

Based on enrollment that's predicted to grow by 6 percent by 2015 and by 15.5 percent by 2020 Rowan-Cabarrus would need 24,000 more square feet by 2015 and another 36,000 square feet by 2020, on top of the 50 percent more space it needs now, according to the plan.

Departments expecting the most growth include health and public service technologies, industrial and engineering technologies, science and math.

"While we are thrilled to have so much enrollment growth over the last several years, space has become a big issue for the college," President Carol Spalding said in a statement.

"Rowan-Cabarrus has so many courses and programs that it offers, but we do not have enough space to accommodate them," Spalding said. "I truly want our students to get a great education in facilities that help them to learn and grow. This facility master plan is the next step in making that happen."

MBAJ's presentation featured facility plans for the north campus and phases to be built over 20 years.

Phase 1 would involve improvements and updates to buildings 100, 300, 500 and 600, an addition to Building 600 for allied health programs, and expanding campus parking.

Phase 2 would add an advanced technology and engineering building and a potential new bookstore and student center.

Under the plan, ultimately the school would have at least 10 buildings, an outdoor learning center and an additional entrance off Julian Road.

Downtown Davidson book garden revived

Construction of the Davidson Public Art Commission's downtown book garden is moving forward again and should be complete this fall, thanks to donations from Wells Fargo and David and Betsey Stewart of Davidson.

Along Main Street between CVS and the Davidson Public Library's side porch, the garden will honor the town's literary and academic history, provide a sheltered spot for reading and realize an artist's creative vision, town officials said last week.

In 2009, the commission chose landscape architect J'Nell Bryson to design the garden. She designed a sculptural seating area under the large water oak and incorporated several works by sculptor Lydia Musco.

In 2010, the Stewarts gave an undisclosed amount, Wells Fargo gave a $15,000 grant and the Arts and Science Council pledged financial support. Even so, the project was put on hold when several grants didn't materialize because of state and federal budget cuts, town officials said. This spring, Wells Fargo donated $50,000 more to complete the garden.

For updates on the garden, visit

Mooresville Motorplex on track to open next year

NASCAR driver Michael McDowell's DryLake Entertainment LLC plans to break ground on its 31.68-acre karting track in Mazeppa Park this fall and open it next summer.

Mooresville Motorplex is a joint venture between ARCA driver Justin Marks and Sprint Cup driver McDowell, who drives for Huntersville-based Joe Gibbs Racing.

The project was delayed for months after neighbors sued DryLake and the Mooresville Board of Commissioners last year for approving a conditional use permit allowing the track to open.

The Observer reported last month that the sides had agreed to a settlement in which DryLake agreed to pay the landowners $14,000.

Besides hosting major racing events, Mooresville Motorplex will also offer retail sales, kart storage, racing schools and experiences, corporate entertainment and group events, Marks said.

Details: email