Catawba Valley Community College will have a new workforce facility at the Hickory Regional Airport in a building that also will serve as the new home for the Hickory Aviation Museum. On Tuesday (June 21), Hickory City Council approved a $1.2 million contract with the architecture firm McMillian Pazdan Smith for design of the building.
Deputy City Manager Rodney Miller told council the total cost for the new building will be $22 million. The majority of the funding will come from the $15 million appropriated last year in the state budget for a new CVCC building. Money for the Hickory Aviation Museum will come from fundraising. Miller said the city has raised $3.6 million of its $7 million goal. While the fundraiser has been limited so far, Miller said the plan is to open it up to the general public this summer.
Miller said the museum would have to move out of the airport terminal if the airport were to resume commercial service, something city leaders have previously shown an interest in. The new workforce building, known formally as the CVCC Workforce Innovation Center, would include a three-story building. The first story would be used for virtual simulators that could be used to train in tasks ranging from flying a plane to operating heavy machinery, Miller said. The second floor would serve as classroom space, while the third is intended to be a restaurant.
Miller mentioned that the college is interested in exploring artificial intelligence and marine specialties and could use the facility to pursue those fields.[News release from the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation]