College Marks Placement of Final Beam on Biotechnology Center of Excellence

Above, guests signed their names to the final steel beam that was raised into place at the conclusion of the ceremony.

(March 1, 2022) – Alamance Community College held a ceremonial beam-signing and raising ceremony on March 1 to celebrate the placement of the final structural steel girder for the Biotechnology Center of Excellence, under construction on the campus and visible from Interstate 85/40.

The $19.4 million Center of Excellence, slated to open in late fall 2022, will be a freestanding, three-story, 32,000 square foot structure, housing a mix of labs and classroom space serving the Biotechnology, Medical Laboratory Technology, Histotechnology and Agricultural-Biotechnology programs. The Center is projected to become an important component in Alamance County because Burlington is the #1 Small Metropolitan Area in the nation for health diagnostics and testing. Further, biosciences job growth is expected to grow exponentially over the next decade.

ACC’s Biotechnology program, begun in 1985, is the oldest two-year program of its kind in the nation.

College administrators and trustees, elected officials, and business leaders attended the in-person ceremony while observing OSHA safety regulations. The public had an opportunity to view the event via a live stream.

“This building will expand our ability to provide workforce development, education and training to undergird a rapidly growing field of science,” said ACC President Dr. Algie Gatewood in prepared remarks. “We could not have done this without the people of Alamance County who voted yes in large numbers back in 2018 to fund this project.”

Above, state elected officials representing Alamance County were among the guests (from left) State Rep. Ricky Hurtado, NC State Senator Amy Galey, State Rep. Dennis Riddell, and ACC President Algie Gatewood.

Among the special guests were Thomas Stith, President of the NC Community College System; Senator Amy Galey, NC State Senate, District 24; Rep. Ricky Hurtado and Rep. Dennis Riddell, NC State House; and John Paisley, Chair of the Alamance County Board of Commissioners.

NC State Senator Amy Galey, an Alamance County resident, helped lead the charge to get a special appropriations grant for $3.6 million to purchase advanced scientific equipment for the Center of Excellence.

“This was an easy sell for me in the General Assembly,” said Galey. “We hear a lot about the need for qualified skilled workers. ACC and the community college system is right at the center of that effort, to get people qualified for jobs and into the job openings that are available.”

“This Center of Excellence building exemplifies the spirit of the North Carolina Community College System,” said Thomas Stith, President of the NC Community College System. “Today’s beam signing event is a capstone for what we’re seeing in our state, and the role that the North Carolina Community College System will play in our future economic development and growth, and the role we play in North Carolina’s job engine.”

The event concluded with nearly all guests signing the steel beam before a crane lifted the final girder to workers atop the framework who secured it into place.

Above, the steel beam bore dozens of signatures before it was raised into place.

Above, construction crew workers secured the beam into place atop the three-story framework.

Above, guests watched as the final beam was placed high above the ground.