A parcel of land belonging to the Clinton 100 Committee has been donated to Sampson Community College to be utilized for the school’s new truck driver training facility.
During the Clinton 100 Committee’s board meeting in January, the approval of the donation of a 12-acre parcel of land in the Sampson Southeastern Business Center was made, allowing college officials to continue to actively pursue grant funding for the new facility.
According to Chuck Spell, Clinton 100 Committee chairman, the program’s training location is currently in a parking lot at Ag Provision in Duplin County and is based on a “handshake” deal.
“We unanimously approved the donation of a 12-acre parcel of this track to support Sampson Community College’s efforts to design and construct the truck driver training facility in Sampson County,” Spell said. “We are delighted that we can support these efforts to serve Sampson County and it residents.”
The truck driver training facility is high on the needs list at the college. Total projected cost for the project is $1.5 million. The program has graduated more than 700 students, with 200 enrolled each and another 200 on a waiting list.
“The improved efficiencies of a local site should allow enrollment of 250-300 annually and will allow for expansion to include an industry requested Class B licensing program,” Spell explained. “The majority of the students are hired before the class is completed, making an average wage of $50,000 per year. The program has eight tractors and four faculty for this training.”
According to Dr. Bill Starling, SCC’s new president, the college’s truck driving program trains drivers and provides the needed support to local industries and agribusinesses.
“The cost of the development of a local training facility can only be achieved through partnerships,” Starling expressed. “Through the donation of the 12-acre site, the Clinton 100 Committee has provided a major installment toward the development of a local facility where the college can continue and expand truck driving training.”
Local industries like Ezzell Trucking have verbally expressed their appreciation to the committee for the donation, as well as the college for the expansion of much-needed program.
“The gift from the Clinton 100 Committee will allow the Sampson Community College’s truck driving school to provide a larger, more efficient training space for the staff and students,” Grover Ezzell, CEO of Ezzell Trucking and Sampson Community College Foundation director, said. “Additionally, students will not have to travel so far away from the community college. It will also help to recruit more students for the program. As a business in the county, Ezzell Trucking is appreciative of the gift from the Clinton 100 Committee in order to fulfill this need.”
In an effort to offset costs associated with the new facility, Sampson Community College is pursuing a Golden LEAF Foundation grant, which, according to Dr. Paul Viser, SCC Foundation president, is in the mid to late stages.
“The college is on the cusp of having full funding for a badly needed operation just three miles from our main campus,” Viser said. “What a huge move forward from our current use of a borrowed parking lot in Duplin County. Clearly, the SCC Foundation and the Clinton 100 Committee have a common interest: to enhance the education, economy, and over all quality of life for our fellow Sampson County citizens.”
Having a truck driving training facility close to the college’s main campus, Starling explained, opens the doors of opportunity that are available to the college and Sampson County.
“The donation of the land and the new facility may also provide an opportunity for the development of related training in heavy equipment operation and repair,” Starling said. “The trustees extend their thanks to the committee and the local business and industry that expressed support for this project. We look forward to the opportunity to realize the shared vision of the college and the Clinton 100 Committee.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Tiwtter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.