Real Estate

Sampson Community College receives $2.3 million grant from USDA Rural Development for new facility expansion

By Faith Hatton, posted 2 months ago
The ceremony included words from SCC leadership, leadership form the North Carolina USDA, representatives from state politicians and Sampson County leaders. 

Sampson Community College will be moving forward with development plans for a 10,000 square-foot expansion to the school’s activities building after receiving a $2.3 million USDA Community Facilities Grant. 

SCC President Dr. Bill Starling (left) shakes hands with USDA State Director Reginald Speight (right) shake hands before signing an official grant agreement. 

A ceremony was held on Thursday Nov. 30 on the SCC campus where USDA State Director Reginald Speight met with SCC President Dr. Bill Starling to announce the grant and make the deal official. 

The expansion will be used as a lecture hall and will accommodate courses requiring open floor space for instruction and skills acquisition, student events, student activities, intramural sports, graduation exercises, and meeting space for business and industry events.

The expansion will allow the college to continue to provide necessary accommodations for students and staff and will also allow for future growth.

During initial remarks, Dr. Starling revealed that the building itself had been in the works since 1998 when designs were originally drawn up and the project was opened to bid. Unfortunately due to insufficient funds at the time, the project efforts were refocused into what is now SCC’s technology building and activity center. Plans continued in 2018 when the building was redesigned and bids opened up again, but while the funds were available, needs required resources to be moved towards the college’s Truck Driving Center. 

Now, Dr. Starling was proud to announce that expansions to the activities center will be moving forward with plans to open the project up for bids in spring of 2024. 

“We're now back to the opportunity to bite the apple [for] the third time. The money that USDA is providing, along with SCIF (State Capital Infrastructure Fund) funds from the state allows us to put together a funding package that we can go out this spring and bid this project for the third time,” shared Dr. Starling. “There are no other complications, it is the only project that we're bidding. We feel like with your funds, SCIF funds and the support of the community and the [Sampson Community College] Foundation behind us, we will finally be able to realize a building that we think is going to serve so many purposes on the campus.” 

Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. 

Those funds are now going to help Sampson Community College to continue expanding and adding additional space for SCC training programs and events to be held. 

“In some ways it is a positive thing when a school outgrows its facilities,” said Speight. “This shows proof positive that this college is providing an impactful education to its students. With this $2.3 million grant Sampson Community College will continue to provide the students in this rural area of the state an expanded variety of classes to prepare them for the future.”

Dr. Starling shared that the goal is to have the expansion project fully completed by the end of 2024.

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