TEASER Moore County Seal

The Moore County Board of Commissioners has approved the sale and issuance of $20 million in general obligation bonds earmarked for Sandhills Community College (SCC) to build a new nursing and health sciences facility.

In May 2018, Moore County voters overwhelmingly approved a $103 million school bond referendum for the construction of three new elementary schools and a $20 million bond for SCC to shift its flagship nursing program and other health sciences programs into a new, larger space.

SCC’s nursing program is currently based in Kennedy Hall. Last fall, the college presented plans to the Southern Pines Town Council for a 36,000-square-foot addition and renovation of the existing 39,000-square foot academic building.

SCC Nursing building

Rendering of the proposed Foundation Hall on Sandhills Community College campus.

In total, the work will create a 75,000-square-foot facility for Sandhills’ nursing program as well as other health sciences programs like radiography, surgical technology, respiratory therapy, and emergency medical science. The combined facility will be known as Foundation Hall.

As planned, it will include three lecture halls, offices, skills labs, a large classroom for EMS training, and 10 simulation labs where advanced nursing students can practice on sophisticated training equipment. Renovations to Kennedy Hall will primarily be dedicated to classrooms and labs for the college’s other health science programs.

Sandhills currently awards associate’s degrees in nursing to about 70 graduates each year. Its graduates consistently record a 90 percent first-time pass rate or better on the NCLEX state nursing licensure exam. Due to space constraints, the college usually turns away nearly as many qualified applicants from the program as it accepts.

With the new facility online, the college anticipates growing its nursing program to 200 students total, or 100 graduates in each class.

SCC has announced Foundation Hall is tentatively scheduled to be up and running for the 2022-2023 academic year.

County Rejoins Group

After a six-year hiatus, Moore County has rejoined the Triangle J Council of Governments and appointed Board Chairman Frank Quis to serve as delegate.

Established in 1959, Triangle J serves a seven-county region in central North Carolina. The organization assists members with long-range planning for land use and infrastructure and, more specifically, provides a forum for discussion of issues of mutual interest and concern with other members.

Moore County had previously participated with Triangle J but left in April 2014 when leadership at that time determined the annual membership dues were too high to justify based on services received.

At that time, neither Aberdeen, Pinehurst or Southern Pines were participating members.

However, there are now a number of local municipalities currently active with Triangle J, including Aberdeen, Cameron, Carthage, Pinehurst, Robbins and Southern Pines. Lee and Chatham counties are also members.

County Manager Wayne Vest reported Moore County’s prorated membership dues for the current fiscal year will run $6,309, and anticipated dues for FY 2022 are $19,224.

“Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen the value of that relationship and coordination with Triangle J,” Vest said, noting the organization has assisted the county’s planning department during a recent staff transition and also provided guidance to the Convention & Visitors Bureau. “They have been a tremendous asset to us. We feel there is value to their services and we want to (re)join them.”

Other Business

The commissioners also:

* Called a public hearing on Feb. 16, at 5:30 p.m. to consider a rezoning request for a 0.6-acre undeveloped tract on N.C. 705 near the N.C. 24-27 intersection from Rural Agriculture to a Neighborhood Commercial business designation.

* Approved a $92,539 purchase of one F-550 truck for the Public Works Department. Cooper Ford of Carthage was the low bidder.

* Approved the FY 2021-FY 2022 proposed budget adoption schedule.

* Reappointed Larry Caddell, Travis Greene, and Michael Gatti to serve on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

(2) comments

Kent Misegades

I will never understand why taxpayers agreed to fund a nursing training center that will primarily benefit one of the most profitable private health centers in our state, First Health. They could have easily funded this themselves. Note that SCC’s long-term goal is to offer four-year nursing degrees together with UNC-Pembroke. Both are lobbying the legislature to make a four year degree a requirement for all nurses in our state, how our bloated education bureaucracy expands itself and protects its huge payroll. By contrast, Jerry Yagen of the Norfolk area runs a growing chain of private trade schools focused on nursing, aviation and manufacturing. At zero cost to taxpayers.

David Hensley

For clarity, the approval of the sale of $20 million in bonds for SCC is the execution of the 2018 referendum.

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