Robeson Community College

Robeson CC President details plans for Connect NC Bond

RCC head details bonds plan

By Bob Shiles –

Pamela Hilbert, president of Robeson Community College, updates Robeson County commissioners on plans to use NC Connect bond money if the $2 billion state bond proposal is approved by voters on March 15.

LUMBERTON — The president of Robeson Community College on Monday outlined for Robeson County commissioners exactly what the college intends to do with its share of the $2 billion in bond money that college officials are hoping will be approved by voters during the primary.

As Pamela Hilbert made her presentation, RCC trustees and the county commissioners dined on a meal prepared by students in the college’s culinary arts classes.

If voters approve the NC Connect bond package, then RCC would receive $7,296,568 of the $350 million earmarked for the state’s 58 community colleges.

Hilbert said that the No. 1 project on RCC’s list would be construction and upgrades to the Emergency Services Training Center on N.C. 72. This would include construction of a new burn and training tower, as well as classroom renovations.

“The training tower is over 20 years old and can’t be used for burns anymore,” Hilbert said. “We also have to pick areas on the tower (that are safe) to use for repelling training.”

Hilbert said that bond money would also be used to expand classroom facilities at the center. The present building, she said, includes four classrooms, a small bay and a couple of offices.

No. 2 on the priority list is construction of an addition to the Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Building, located on the college’s main campus in Lumberton. The need for $3 million in improvements for that building was identified in RCC’s master plan as far back as 2008, said Hilbert.

After the two major projects, Hilbert said that the remaining $196,568, plus any available matching funds from the county would be used for updates to the F.G. Williams Student Center, renovations of science labs in Buildings 1 and 7, and as-needed work to utilities and bathrooms.

In other business on Monday, the trustees:

— Were told by Hilbert that as of Monday college enrollment for the 2016 spring semester was 1,739 students.

“This is pretty close to what our enrollment was last spring,” Hilbert said.

— Heard a brief report from RCC Vice President Channing Jones on the annual Southeast Fire and Rescue College held at the college on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There were 690 fire, rescue and law enforcement participants in the event, Jones said.

Jones said that he recently learned that RCC is No. 1 in certifications awarded by the state’s 58 community colleges in 2015.

— Heard from Hilbert that representatives of Morrisville-based Brady Trane Company, the company conducting an energy-grade investment audit of all buildings on the main RCC campus in Lumberton and on the RCC campus at COMtech, will be present to answer questions about the audit when the trustees meet on March 14. According to Hilbert, by April the trustees will have to determine how large of an energy-savings project they want to pursue.

— Were told by Hilbert that Bonita B. Bell was retiring as a college counselor. Bell had worked for RCC for the past 12.5 years.

— Accepted the resignation of Michael Cheek, who was instrumental in the establishment of RCC’s Barber College.

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.