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by Kevin Griffin, Hickory Daily Record
Click here for the original article and additonal video from the Hickory Daily Record.

Catawba Valley Community College will have a new workforce facility at the Hickory Regional Airport in a building that also will serve as the new home for the Hickory Aviation Museum.

On Tuesday, the Hickory City Council approved a $1.2 million contract with the architecture firm McMillian Pazdan Smith for design of the building.

Deputy City Manager Rodney Miller told the council the total cost for the new building will be $22 million.

This rendering by architecture firm McMillan Pazdan Smith shows the concept for the new building that will house the Hickory Aviation Museum and Catawba Valley Community College Workforce Innovation Center.

The majority of the funding will come from the $15 million appropriated last year in the state budget for a new CVCC building.

Money for the Hickory Aviation Museum will come from fundraising. Miller said the city has raised $3.6 million of its $7 million goal. While the fundraiser has been limited so far, Miller said the plan is to open it up to the general public this summer.
Miller said the museum would have to move out of the airport terminal if the airport were to resume commercial service, something city leaders have previously shown an interest in.

The new workforce building, known formally as the CVCC Workforce Innovation Center, would include a three-story building.

The first story would be used for virtual simulators that could be used to train in tasks ranging from flying a plane to operating heavy machinery, Miller said. The second floor would serve as classroom space, while the third is intended to be a restaurant.

Miller mentioned that the college is interested in exploring artificial intelligence and marine specialties and could use the facility to pursue those fields.

Regarding the schedule for the project, Miller said, “We don’t have a set timeline. I’m guessing several months we still have left of design work to be done. In a perfect world, I think we would get through the winter and plan on breaking ground some time in the spring after the first of the year.” 

Economic deal approved

In a separate item, the council also approved a land sale and economic development agreement with Hickory-based real estate firm Fairbrook Ridge LLC.

The city will sell the company a 1-acre property at 1820 Startown Road SE for $115,000. The company in turn is committed to investing at least $3 million building up to two commercial buildings and creating at least four jobs.

The company would have to meet these goals by the end of 2025. Development would occur on both the city-owned property sold to the company and an adjacent parcel where the Gold King is located.



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