A 46,000-square-foot abandoned furniture warehouse has been given new life as the continuing education and industrial center at Randolph Community College in Asheboro, N.C.
As with many community colleges, Randolph was in need of expansion due to large enrollment growth. Overflowing parking lots as well as classrooms in the machining program at the school led to an overhaul of the old Klaussner Furniture warehouse, located adjacent to the campus’ Health & Science Center and to Randolph Early College High School.
Now with 47,283 square feet, the Continuing Education and Industrial Center (CEIC) includes seven classrooms; doubles the size of the institution’s Small Business Center; provides space for continuing education classes and offices; houses a corporate training center; and doubles the space for the Computer-Integrated Machining program, explains President Robert Shackleford Jr.
“We wanted it to look like a state-of-the-art education center, attractive to today’s students,” says Shackleford. During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, he remarked that what was once an empty building “is now going to make such a profound impact on the economic and workforce development of Randolph County.”
The facility is the school’s showcase project for the Better Buildings Challenge, a national initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy that asks university presidents and leaders from communities and other institutions to make a public commitment to energy efficiency, and to provide energy savings data and strategies as models for others to follow as buildings are upgraded. Partners are encouraged to have multiple showcase projects.
Ninety-five percent of the existing building was utilized in the warehouse renovation at Randolph. The new building meets LEED Gold standards and includes a solar hot water heating system, rainwater harvesting tank that will provide water for the entire Asheboro Campus landscape, a chilled-beam HVAC system, high-efficiency lighting, and an interactive dashboard in the lobby to showcase energy savings.
The building has already played host to various meetings as well as community events. The new governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory, signed his first bill in the building’s training center.
The CEIC is located at 413 Industrial Park Avenue, a street filled with old manufacturing buildings, many of which Shackleford has his eye on. “I’d like to turn Industrial Avenue into College Avenue,” he explains.
The renovation was funded by the voters of Randolph County, who approved a quarter-cent sales tax referendum in March 2010. The project involved purchasing the building for $850,000 and a renovation cost of $7,666,820 ($3 million dollars less than if the college had constructed a building from scratch, according to Shackleford).
The warehouse was purchased in 2008, and construction began in November 2011. It was completed in November 2012 and the building opened in January 2013.
Smith Sinnett Architecture (Raleigh, N.C.)