The Person County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the county’s intent to purchase the former Carolina Pride Carwash building during their February 5 meeting to house Piedmont Community College (PCC) programs.

The 91,000 square foot industrial building, located at 225 Crown Boulevard in Timberlake, will be known as the Center for Health, Advanced Technology and Trades (CHATT) and will house programs falling into those categories.

Dale Reynolds, the current owner of the Carolina Pride building, originally offered to allow the county to enter a long-term lease of the building. In December 2023, Reynolds offered to sell the building to the county for $7 million for the use of PCC programs.

PCC received a $5 million appropriation in the 2023 state budget to be used towards an advanced technology center. On January 18, the PCC Board of Trustees voted to allocate $1,835,000 of the $5 million to the county’s purchase of the building with the county covering the remaining $5,165,000. The remainder of PCC’s state budget allocation will be used to cover the costs of upfits and equipment needs for the building.

With much of PCC’s campus being built in the 1970s, current spaces for health, advanced technology and trade programs have not been updated to current workforce standards and trends in decades. The purchase of the Carolina Pride building allows for increased space for these programs and will allow PCC to increase the capacity of these high demand programs. The high visibility of the building along the 501 corridor will also better market PCC and reach more people on the southern end of the county.

“I’m grateful to the Person County Board of Commissioners for their support and shared vision of CHATT,” Dr. Pamela G. Senegal, PCC president, said. “The new space for these programs will better equip students for these high demand jobs.”

Phillip Allen, PCC Board member and Person County Economic Development Commision Chair emphasized that Project CHATT will benefit not only PCC, but also the citizens of Person County and the surrounding region.

“When parents are sitting around the dinner table at night, the two main things they want for their children are a good education and a good job,” Allen said. “We can all agree on that! Project CHATT is a giant step in that direction for the future of our young people and the future of our community! We are grateful to the Person County Board of Commissioners for their willingness to make this investment in the education of our citizens and the development of a skilled workforce. Economic development depends on a skilled workforce, period!”

PCC plans to begin offering classes at CHATT starting the fall 2024 semester.

Article in The Courier Times

Watch the Piedmont Community College presentation during the Commissioners Meeting below.

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