DOBSON — Group efforts of the Surry Community College’s Foundation for Education, school officials, local property owners and Surry County officials culminated in the purchase of a 56-acre tract of land that virtually gives the “landlocked” school room to grow.
The formal closing for the properties was held Tuesday at the college’s Dobson campus. The search for property for a new vineyard began as the end of the college’s lease from the county school system neared its end. The properties are located between Old Rockford Road and U.S. 601.
The board of education had earlier signaled that it would end the lease to SCC and use the land for improvements to Surry Central High School possibly by the end of this year. The board said at that time it would work with the college to be sure it did not lose a growing season. The extension allows North Carolina State University to finish its grant-funded research that is ongoing in test plots in the vineyard.
The foundation also has looked at properties along Main Street before it looked beyond Main Street and “found” the tracts along U.S. 601 that include about 1,000 feet of road frontage.
“We were excited about the property,” explained SCC President Dr. David Shockley. “We reached out to the county commissioners as we presented our budget to them this month.”
The commissioners’ response was a commitment to help fund the project with $200,000. The total price for the property is $594,000, and payments on the parcels will be spread out over five years with the foundation funding the remainder of the project.
“We couldn’t have done it without them,” continued Shockley. “This is totally a community project. Support has been overwhelming from everybody.”
The property will not be used solely for a new vineyard. The next step of the process will be the school approaching engineering firms for how best to design a road entrance to leave the most flexibility for other buildings and facilities for the school.
“Our hope is that one day our college entrance will be on 601,” added Shockley. “Perhaps in years to come we will be able to have the properties connected.”
Property owner Dan Jackson’s parcel also contains a home constructed with historic materials from the area. He told the group that others had looked at the parcel of land but he had held out in hopes it would be purchased by someone who would use it in a way that would not disturb the “educational atmosphere” of the area around SCC.
Jackson told the board how he had only contracted out the masonry work and framing on the house. He studied cabinetry at the school at one time and said he had received support, and the use of wood plainer from the school. Jackson said that some of the wood in the house came from the former Copeland School Auditorium. He said the home was first deeded to John Hamlin in 1854.
Jarrell said as long as he remembered his parcel of land had always been farmed.
“I think it’s (the purchase of the properties) going to be exciting for our school,” said SCC Board of Trustees Chairman Deidre Rogers.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.