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State provides $20 million to fund construction, expansion projects


PSTCAs part of the state budget passed last week, the N.C. Legislature provided Southwestern Community College with $20 million to address several pressing institutional and program needs.

Half of the funding ($10 million) will be used to construct an indoor firing range at Southwestern’s Public Safety Training Center (PSTC) in Franklin. That facility will serve local, regional, statewide and federal law enforcement officers and recruits.

“The indoor firing range has long been needed in proximity to our Public Safety Training Center,” said Dr. Don Tomas, SCC’s President. At present, the only firearms training option SCC can offer law enforcement officials is an outdoor range in Dillsboro – a 30-minute drive from the PSTC.

The outdoor range will remain operational, allowing recruits and officers to get essential training in the elements that they’ll also face while working in the field.

The remaining $10 million will be used for expansion and renovation projects at SCC’s Jackson Campus in Sylva, starting with an addition to Oaks Hall. 

That will allow Holt Library to move to the center of campus. Holt Library is currently at the extreme northeastern end of campus – so the move will make the library’s resources and services more accessible for students between classes.  

“Providing a modern space for our library is part of the Master Plan we commissioned for our Jackson Campus a few years ago,” Dr. Tomas said.

Another project on the Jackson Campus involves renovating the existing library building to become a dedicated space for Workforce Continuing Education classrooms.

“Our Workforce Continuing Education Division, which handles the vital work of short-term training, has always needed a dedicated space for holding classes.” said Dr. Tomas.

Back in the spring, Dr. Tomas supplied the area’s elected officials with the necessary documents to ensure the projects received consideration at the state level.

Oaks Hall“We’re extremely grateful to the individuals who represent our service area for securing these funds,” Dr. Tomas said. “When we considered our region’s most pressing needs, and those of our institution, these priorities rose to the top. All of these construction projects will better position us to meet the ever-changing educational and training needs of the communities we serve.”

An official timeline has not yet been set for the projects, but Dr. Tomas said college officials have already started the planning process and will follow state construction guidelines.

For more information about Southwestern and the programs it offers, explore, call 828.339.4000 or drop by your nearest SCC location.

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