Officials turn dirt in the groundbreaking ceremony for the future GTCC Aviation Building III on Feb. 21. Photo by Thomas Lester/NWO
By Thomas Lester
NW GREENSBORO - In hailing Guilford County as a national hub of aviation and logistics, officials say the best is yet to come.
On Feb. 21, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the future Guilford Technical Community College Aviation Building III. When completed, the 41,000-square foot facility on Radar Road near Piedmont Triad International Airport will accommodate the ever-growing aviation program. The school's Aviation Management and Career Pilot programs will be housed in the new aviation building.
"This isn't a pipe dream," said GTCC President Dr. Randy Parker. "Honda Aircraft and TIMCO are already here. If projections are true, we're standing in the heart of the aviation and logistical hub of the United States."
Parker said in 2006, the aviation program had 150 students. In the fall 2012 semester, 337 students were enrolled and their understanding of aviation was remarkable with high rates of students earning industry certification. A group of GTCC students placed third in a national aviation competition, finishing just behind a group from the U.S. Naval Academy.
The $10 million facility, which should be open in the spring of 2014, was paid for by state funds and county bonds, including bonds from a 2008 county referendum geared toward education.
"Investing in education is one of the most important ways we in the county can invest in our future," said Guilford County Commissioners Chair Linda Shaw.
Shaw noted that GTCC's strong aviation program was key in attracting Honda Aircraft to Guilford County. Honda's Division Director of Administration Steve Johnston acknowledged the school's role in pushing forward.
"The dream of an aviation cluster in the Triad is shared by many in this room," Johnston said. "GTCC has been and will continue to be vital in the leadership role in fulfilling this dream."
Following the ceremony, officials participated in a ceremonial ground breaking on the worksite.