For years local officials have talked about the need for Stokes County to have its own community college campus. The county received big news last week that will further aid officials in their quest to make that dream a reality.
Stokes County has received its first Golden LEAF Foundation grant — a $2 million promise that could help the county leverage the funds needed to extend water and sewer services to the future standalone community college campus in the Meadows area.
“That was good news,” County Manager Rick Morris told the county commissioners at a meeting Monday.
Stokes County officials received notification last Thursday that the Golden LEAF Foundation has awarded the county up to $2 million to provide water and sewer services to the Forsyth Technical Community College facility which will be located adjacent to the Stokes Early College High School off of Dodgetown Road.
Commissioner Leon Inman said Monday, “I think we’re one step closer to making our standalone community college a reality … It’s exciting.”
Board Chairman Ernest Lankford echoed these sentiments, stating, “It was an exciting day when we got the news.”
The Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors voted unanimously to provide the county with the funds, according to an email provided by Morris. Up to $230,000 can be used for preconstruction and design, with the remainder going toward the other phases of the project once Stokes County secures the necessary funding.
This is the first grant awarded to the county by Golden LEAF and the largest grant the Foundation has awarded this fiscal year, according to the notification from Dan Gerlach of Golden LEAF.
Morris said the county is in the process of applying for several other grants to obtain the estimated $5 1/2 to $6 million needed to provide water and sewer services at the campus. The county’s reception of a Golden LEAF grant will shed a positive light on its plans to equip a new college campus with public utilities.
The county has already given tentative approval to a $6 million project to construct the county’s own community college campus, though officials said last year that the figure is just an estimate and will hopefully be lower. The water and sewer project is a separate component with a timeline that is largely dependent on funding.
Last March, the Stokes County Board of Commissioners approved a contract to move forward with the design process for a water and sewer project to the site. Pilot View Resource Conservation and Development Inc. was brought on to mediate the project.
The county is currently in phase one of the project, Morris said, which involves designing the system. The board plans to meet with Pilot View in March to go over the project.