DOBSON — Surry Community College finds itself wrapping up the new year with some of the best of times accomplished in the worst of budget times.
“The biggest challenge we face in the upcoming year will be finances,” predicted Surry Community President Dr. David Shockley. “We must juggle funding issues and keep changing to meet the needs of our students.”
Shockley is upbeat about accomplishments the school has made this year through partnerships with a variety of local, state and federal agencies, businesses and individuals.
“Hard times breed creativity,” said Shockley. “I’m proud of us (SCC) and the creativity we have shown. I think 2012 has been a very successful year. I didn’t want us to lie down and die because of the serious budget issues from local, state and federal sources. Times were tough but we’re stronger.”
He praised the efforts of partnerships formed through the Surry Community College Foundation for Education.
“All you hear these days are how no one will cooperate with anyone,” said Shockley. “I think when you consider the tough fiscal times we are going through state and local officials should get a lot of credit. They really came together and helped us accomplish all that we have.”
One of the projects Shockley referred to is a group effort of the foundation, school officials, local property owners Charlie Jarrell and Dan Jackson and Surry County officials which culminated in the purchase of a 56-acre tract of land located between Old Rockford Road and U.S. 601. The tract virtually gives the “landlocked” school room to grow. The purchase also gives the school potential for access to U.S. 601.
“I’m excited about seeing the new vineyard coming into play this spring,” said Shockley.
The property also includes a historic house which later could be repurposed as a tasting room for the school’s new vineyard which will be planted there in the spring. An example of the school’s honoring the past while looking forward was the construction of a clock tower to honor college Board of Trustees member Betty K. Vaughn.
The Surry Community College Board of Trustees dedicated the college’s new clock tower to Betty Kay Vaughn in recognition of her 23 years of service to the school. Vaughn was appointed to the board in 1984 by the governor of North Carolina and remains as a governor appointee throughout her tenure on the board. The new tower was paid for by Vaughn’s family.
The structure was purposefully cited to become a focal point in the future for the school and projects to improve the facilities at the college also are ongoing.
“We have a lot of creative energy,” summarized Shockley. “In a situation of less money, we have been more productive. The renovation to the Pilot Center, for instance, is an example of the culmination of everybody’s efforts. It wasn’t all the college. We used a smorgasbord of resources to make that happen.”
Shockley said at some point he wants to recognize state and local leaders and officials. He said all too often they get “beat up on” when things go badly and don’t get credit when things go well.
He explained goals for the college for the upcoming year should include “playing a greater roll in the economic development of our area” through partnerships including the Surry County Economic Development Partnership and the Yadkin Valley Economic Development Council.
“We are making progress on updating our school’s structures and attracting business by unique programs,” said Shockley. “We must constantly emphasize the needs of new industries, but we can’t ignore those that are already here and have been contributing.”
He said the staff in charge of the college’s physical facilities “have done a fantastic job,” and cited much of the school’s success academically to the flexibility of its faculty. He praised the staff’s repair efforts in the face of losing a boiler late in the year, leaving only one building heated. He said efforts to “spruce up and fix up” the college’s facilities will continue.
Shockley pointed to the school’s designation as a college of excellence consecutively for the last four years as outside validation of the direction the college has chosen. This honor was awarded to the school by the North Carolina Community College System.
“Earning an honor like this is not an easy task,” said Shockley. “They (the state) will be raising the standards so it’ll be even harder to get this honor in the future.”
He also pointed out that Surry Community College looks toward its 50th year of operation in 2014.
“We’re moving forward on our 50th birthday,” concluded Shockley. “We are really gearing up for that. We’re extremely excited for our future as Surry Community College turns 50.”
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.