By Jennifer Henderson
The unveiling of Wake Technical Community College’s new Research Triangle Park campus will be one of long-time president Stephen Scott’s last official services to the massive community college prior to his retirement later this month.
Wake Tech will usher in students at the new RTP campus this fall in programs including business administration, information technology and engineering, among others, according to the college. The nine-building campus has the capacity to serve 7,000 students and sprawls across 94 acres.
By comparison, Duke University has roughly 6,600 undergraduate students.
“The RTP campus will provide education and training that will greatly increase the Triangle’s IT talent pipeline. We’re partnering with all the major information technology companies to make sure we’re offering the programs they need to help bridge the skills gap,” Scott told Triangle Business Journal earlier this summer, adding, “The next phase at the RTP campus will focus on biopharma, to expand the pool of talented workers in that field. The RTP campus is also the headquarters of our corporate and Business Solutions division, which provides vital, customized workforce training to meet the unique needs of local and regional companies.”
Scott took the helm of Wake Tech back in 2003. Since that time, the college’s student population has grown from 50,000 to upward of 74,000 – and its total budget has grown from $60 million to $279 million.
The land for Wake Tech’s new RTP campus was purchased a decade ago for $10.1 million with 2007 bond funds, according to a spokeswoman for the college. And 2012 bond funds provided for RTP Building 1 – $47.2 million for the building and parking lots as well as $7.5 million for roadways.
On the ballot this November, Wake Tech is seeking approval for $349 million in bonds for building projects over the next four years, according to the college. That includes more than $56 million for a parking deck and new classrooms at the RTP campus.
Scott believes Wake Tech overall can eventually serve up to 100,000 students a year within 10 years.
Wake Tech isn’t planning on restricting the new campus solely for student use. Conference rooms on campus will be available to the public for a small fee, and reservations can be made through an online portal. The auditorium and different classrooms will be available for RTP businesses to hold training, classes and seminars as well.
On July 20, the Wake Tech Board of Trustees announced William Aiken as the college’s interim president. Aiken served as president of Sampson Community College for more than a decade, prior to retiring from the position back in 2012.
Wake Tech’s new RTP campus is situated on N.C. Highway 54 in close proximity to I-540.