SANFORD — The front entrance to Central Carolina Community College’s Lee County campus underwent a facelift recently, framing the area in what school officials see as a more inviting context.
Where trees once stood — blocking the view into the heart of campus — now sit a series of sandstone benches surrounding a large medallion on the ground. Additional lighting has been placed along the walkways into campus, and flowerbeds have been laid. Designers also added directional signage to help those entering campus find their way.
“The appearance of the main entrance to our Lee County Campus was something we needed to improve,” said CCCC President Bud Marchant. “The changes are impressive, both beautifying the entrance area and making it more welcoming. It is also far more functional, with the handsome benches, open space and landscaping providing an inviting place for small campus gatherings and for students to relax between classes.”
Marchant noted that the $40,000 improvement was paid for with proceeds from the sale of the college’s old Telephony Building on Tiffany Drive in Sanford, not with state or local education funding. By law, funds from the sale of physical facilities must be used for physical facilities.
Donnie Lowder, CCCC’s construction manager, said the renovation began about a year ago and, after some brief breaks over the course of the year, wrapped up in the second week of June, when landscapers put down sod.
“Some of the trees that were here had deteriorated and had really reached a point where they were doing damage to the area, so we thought it was a good opportunity to open the campus up and improve the look of the entryway,” Lowder explained.
Lowder said the college employed landscape architect Dan Sundberg, of United Biospheres, in Siler City, to create the new entrance and make sure it could be seen easily from Kelly Drive, the main road through the campus.
According to Lowder, work on the project began in June 2010, with an eye toward having the work done by the time students returned to campus in the fall. Delays ended up changing that projection, though, and Lowder said work stopped at the start of the fall semester “so we didn’t create any hazards for the students who were getting used to campus.”
Work resumed in mid-semester and continued through the winter months until grass was planted this month, putting the final touches on the project.
“Everything took a little longer than we’d expected, but that’s a part of a job like this,” said Lowder.
The contrast in the campus entrance is stark — where once existed a cramped, cluttered walkway into the school now stands an area clearly designed to look like the entrance to a college. It’s well lit, and there’s plenty of seating for students and staff. Directions to all parts of the campus are clearly marked.
“We feel like we’ve been able to add a lot to the campus and just open up the whole area,” Lowder said. “We’re really proud of the whole project.”