Ground was broken for the new Applied Sciences and Workforce Development Center on Monday.
Approximately 100 people were in attendance at the ceremony.
Representatives from many of the funding partners for the project spoke briefly during the event. Isothermal employees were in attendance as the ceremony was part of the college's annual convocation event, which marks the end of the summer break for faculty and students.
The project is possible due to generous support of the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Rutherford County Board of Commissioners, the Isothermal Community College Board of Trustees, the Appalachian Regional Commission and Golden LEAF Foundation.
In addition to instructional space and advanced technologies, the project will include incubation space and innovation space for new and existing businesses.
"This project will enable us to continue to build a better future for our community," said Pres. Walter Dalton of Isothermal Community College. "We are very pleased to arrive at this point in the process and we could not have done it without our valuable partners in this project."
The low bid on the contract was awarded to Beam Construction of Cherryville. The company's bid of just more than $6.5 million included a list of extra features that board of trustees had hoped to include. The project includes Beam's base bid of $6,271,000 plus the list of features including heavy duty concrete, a privacy screen and security gate, faculty parking, a movable partition, landscaping, roller blinds, overhead interior doors, stained concrete floor finish, an interior metal panel wall, electric screens and a building automation system. The construction cost, designer fees, other fees and the required 3 percent contingency cost total just more than $7.5 million, well under the school's construction budget of $8.7 million.
"This is a great day for Rutherford County and for the entire community," said Chairman Bryan King of the Rutherford County Commission. "We're thankful to everyone who provided support to this project. We're building our future right here."
The project technically began last spring with the demolition and removal of several temporary buildings that were constructed by the Isothermal Maintenance Department in the early 1970s but remained in use until mid-2016.
Construction on the building is expected to commence in the next several weeks with a projected completion date of October 2018.