College receives $1.5 million grant for new trades building


April 8, 2021 – The Golden LEAF Foundation announced April 1 that Western Piedmont Community College will receive $1.5 million to build a Construction Trades Solution Center. This is part of a $9.6 million Community-Based Grants Initiative by the foundation.

The Construction Trades Solution Center at WPCC will be used for training in carpentry, masonry, electrical technologies, HVAC, plumbing and green construction principles. The building will be created in two phases. Phase I will be 20,000 square feet of labs, classrooms, meeting space and support areas. Phase II includes 15,000 square feet of lab areas, where modular homes will be built to provide real-world learning environments.

“Our previous facility was preventing us from delivering the scope and quality of programming required,” Dean of Applied Technologies Michael Daniels said. “This cutting edge facility, built for specific trades program needs, will allow the college to develop and deliver the Construction Trades programing that the field needs and that both new students and existing workers want and need to be successful.”

The expected budget for the building is $6 million, which will be comprised of the Golden LEAF Foundation grant, the remainder of the college’s NC Connect Bonds, a funds match from Burke County and the sale of college property to Homes Urban Morganton Partners, LLC in addition to other miscellaneous sources. The construction process is underway with a search for architects and a contractor. Groundbreaking will hopefully take place in the fall.

The Construction Trades Solution Center will replace WPCC’s current facilities, which are more than 70 years old. These were sold to Homes Urban, and those funds will aid in the building of the new center.

The new center will be featured on the main campus adjacent to the Duke Energy switching station near Burkemont Avenue and will be connected off College Drive.

“Community colleges are a critical partner in addressing the needs of local businesses and industry,” said Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF president and CEO. “The Foundation is pleased to support Western Piedmont Community College’s efforts to establish a continuous pipeline of talent to meet industry demand for construction jobs in the Northwestern region.”

The Golden LEAF Foundation’s Community-Based Grants Initiative will serve 14 projects in nine western North Carolina counties. Projects support workforce preparedness, job creation and economic investment, public infrastructure and agriculture.

“We are very appreciative of the Golden LEAF Foundation in their support of community colleges and the success of our students,” said Sandy Hoilman, vice president for Administrative Services. “As a result of this funding, we will be able to offer training in high-demand construction careers with family sustainable wages in a state-of-the-art facility equipped with the latest tools trending in construction training.”