Gaston Community College has started organizing its Lincoln County troops.
â€œWeâ€™re so excited to get started because we feel the expansion of the Lincoln campus is so important,â€ said Rosalind Welder, dean for Lincoln Campus.
An assortment of business leaders, government officials and retired politicians have signed on to help the campus raise funds.
The Lincoln Campus of Gaston Community College needs $1.97 million in order to have the proper facilities to offer two additional degrees.
â€œI feel strongly about this project,â€ said Jerry Cochrane, chairman of the Board of Commissioners. â€œIâ€™m convinced we will make this happen, and it will impact our citizens for years to come.â€
The college has already received a $300,000 from Timken Cooperation. Timken also made a sizable donation when the original campus was renovated.
â€œTheyâ€™ve been a great supporter of the college for a long time,â€ said Sylvia Bajorek, executive director of the Gaston College Foundation, â€œWeâ€™re very grateful.â€
Approximately $400,000 has been raised for the project from state bond money.
Volunteers now plan to go into the community and solicit money from businesses.
â€œWe want you to feel very comfortable with the project and all aspects of it before you go on your calls,â€ Sylvia Bajorek told volunteers at an organizational meeting.
Volunteers are now armed with information about the collegeâ€™s needs.
The $1.97 million would pay for constructing a new building and reconfiguring space on the current building.
The additional space would make it possible to offer an Associate in Arts Degree and an Associate in Science Degree.
The two college transfer programs would make it easier for students to transfer to four year community colleges.
To offer these degrees the campus needs additional science labs with prep rooms, storage space, additional classroom space and computer labs.
If the community college succeeds in raising the $1.97 million, it will also be able to expand classes in health science, computer technology and office systems technology.
Many fund-raising volunteers working on the current project previously worked to raise money for the original Lincoln Campus.
â€œI remember it well. I was on the board when Gaston College was considering a Lincoln campus,â€ said Ray Cloninger, a former county commissioner.
â€œA project back then was an undertaking, and you had a lot of opportunities, but the results are shown right now.â€
Volunteers have already signed up for specific businesses to solicit money from.
Many feel it is their responsibility to make sure the community college succeeds in raising money.
â€œI believe we owe the community something just for the privilege of living here,â€ said Don Ballard, a volunteer. by Sarah Grano