Manteo, North Carolina — College of The Albemarle (COA) and Dare County held a groundbreaking ceremony on Dec. 10 for the 36,000-square-foot academic building that will soon be constructed at COA – Dare in Manteo. Mass gathering restrictions due to COVID-19 limited attendance, but those who were unable to gather in person had the ability to view the event virtually through a live stream provided by the Dare County YouTube™ channel.
The program started off with a welcome message provided by Dr. Jack Bagwell, president of COA. Dr. Bagwell noted the dignitaries in attendance, including members of the COA Board of Trustees, Dare County Board of Education, and COA faculty and staff. “I’ve thought a lot about this day and this event, and what a great opportunity this is for the campus and this county,” Dr. Bagwell said. “We are not just beginning a journey. This journey started a number of years ago with dreams, discussion, and a commitment from the county. As this building goes up, it is going to be a lot of things in this community — an entry point, a destination, some days a cultural hub and an educational hub.” Dr. Bagwell also thanked Dare County and its board of commissioners for the “vision, foresight and financial commitment” in support of the new building.
Patti Kersey, chair of COA’s Board of Trustees, gave the invocation and led guests in the pledge of allegiance. Bob Woodard, chair, Dare County Board of Commissioners and member of COA’s Board of Trustees, offered remarks on behalf of the county. He thanked those who had been involved with the project thus far and explained what an incredible milestone the day was, celebrating the longstanding partnership Dare County has with COA. “Dare County has always placed an importance on the education of our students and nowhere in the state of North Carolina is this more evident than our investment in the state-of-the art facility that will be constructed on this site,” stated Woodard.
Construction will start in early 2021 and COA plans to provide instruction in the new academic building for fall 2022.