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College Dedicates 47-Acre Covington Education Center for Horticulture Studies

ACC President Algie Gatewood stands behind Covington patriarch William “Bill” Covington (sitting center) with family members in front of a white oak planted in their honor during the dedication ceremony of the Bill and Nancy Covington Education Center.

ACC President Algie Gatewood stands behind Covington patriarch William “Bill” Covington (sitting center) with family members in front of a white oak planted in their honor during the dedication ceremony of the Bill and Nancy Covington Education Center.

Alamance Community College formally dedicated the Bill and Nancy Covington Education Center on Nov. 1, the 47-acre farmland purchased with a gift from a generous donor to expand Horticulture Technology and related programs.

A crowd that included college officials and Covington family and friends gathered on the farmland off Jim Minor Road in Mebane where dirt was tossed to plant a new white oak in honor of William “Bill” and Nancy Covington, who agreed to sell the land to the College.

A crowd that included college officials and Covington family and friends

A crowd that included college officials and Covington family and friends

Among the speakers were Dr. Algie Gatewood, ACC President; Justin Snyder, Dean of Industrial Technologies; Dr. Elizabeth Riley, Department Head of Horticulture Technology; and Jennifer Furman, a Horticulture student who told how she and her fellow students have already been using the land for their education.

The funds for the College to buy the land came in 2015 from an anonymous donor, who expressed a desire to preserve land for the purpose of education – specifically horticulture, but also forestry, agriculture and related purposes. Consequently, the 47 acres on Jim Minor Road was purchased from William “Bill” and Nancy Covington of Mebane, who own and operate Covington Dairy. The ACC Foundation coordinated the donation and purchase.

map with future plans drawn in

Since the acquisition, the College has leveraged the land to serve as a true Horticulture lab facility for students in the Horticulture Technology program, gaining in its advantages to:

  • Teach location-specific lessons that involve the need for trees, flat land, and areas for irrigation and nursery instruction and practice
  • Continue partnerships with other state and local groups – such as Alamance County Extension, NC Nursery and Landscape Association – to create opportunities to train individuals interested in the green industry
  • Utilize space to offer continuing education classes to individuals interested in small fruit and vegetable production
  • Increase potential to partner with other college departments, such as Culinary Arts, Biotechnology, and others.

Said Justin Snyder, Dean of Industrial Technologies and former department head of Horticulture Technology: “We can improve the quality of instruction our students are receiving, and make the labs and classes we teach more like a real world scenario. Our goal is to produce highly qualified students ready to join the local workforce, as well as support the local green industry companies. This land will allow us to better meet that goal.”

“I’m excited about so many new opportunities,” said Dr. Gatewood. “All in all, this is a wonderful opportunity for the future of our college.”