Kelley Deal is senior director of Marketing and Communication for Nash Community College.

Kelley Deal is senior director of Marketing and Communication for Nash Community College.

Kelley Deal: NC Connect bond will benefit education

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During the March primary election, the voters of North Carolina will decide whether or not to support a proposed $2 billion bond called “Connect NC” that will be used for strategic investments in North Carolina’s public infrastructure.

This includes higher education, state parks, agriculture, safety, and water and sewer projects in 76 North Carolina counties.

If the Connect NC bond passes, Nash Community College will receive $7.7 million and has committed to making Nash-Rocky Mount Early College High School top priority.

The passing would mean Early College High School students move into an improved instructional space.

The Early College High School is a five-year high school within Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools located on Nash Community College’s campus. Early College High School students take a combination of high school and college courses.

Upon successful completion, they graduate with both a high school diploma and either an Associate’s Degree or two years of college credit transferable to a four-year institution.

The Early College High School, through Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, is located on the NCC campus.

With the funds, Nash Community College will up-fit Building C to accommodate the Early College High School – a concept reflected in the college’s master plan. Early College students are currently learning in mobile units that were never intended to be a long-term home.

With its proven 10-year history as one of the first early colleges in North Carolina, the Nash-Rocky Mount Early College High School is worthy of better instructional space.

The Connect NC bond would allow Nash Community College to add a new building to house its Cosmetology and Engineering programs currently in Building C.

As existing space is vacated by these two programs, Early College students would move into Building C with room for growth.

Additionally, if the Connect NC bond passes, Nash Community College would use some of the funding to establish a new two-year degree program in Veterinary Technology. The College has already been approved to offer the new program.

The N.C. Community College System as a whole would receive $350 million for new construction or repairs and renovations at its 58 community colleges across the state.

These improvements are necessary to provide a learning environment that meets the demands of a 21st century workforce.

North Carolina’s 58 community colleges have trained and educated 40 percent of the state’s workforce over the last 10 years and our alumni account for 46 percent, or $19.6 billion, of the $42.2 billion economic impact of higher education alumni in the state.

This long-term financing of the Connect NC bond is the most efficient way to fund critical needs projects, especially when interest rates are at an all-time low.

Most of the infrastructure projects throughout the state covered under the Connect NC bond cannot be financed from annual operating budgets on either the state or county levels.

And no new taxes are required now or in the future to finance the bonds as North Carolina will be finished paying some current bond debt before the cost of these bonds would be added.

Voters throughout North Carolina will have the opportunity to vote for the Connect NC bond during the March 15 primary election and should note the Connect NC bond may be located at the end of the ballot or on the reverse side.

For more information, call 451-8235 or visit