Shoveling the first dirt at the new College of the Albemarle groundbreaking ceremony.

Shoveling the first dirt at the new College of the Albemarle groundbreaking ceremony.

The College of the Albemarle broke ground on its new Dare County campus in Manteo on Thursday. What is going to be going up there is going to be spectacular.

With an investment of $17 million plus, most of it being provided by Dare County, the new campus will provide state of the art facilities for everything from online learning to the latest in technical training for skills in the building trades.

It’s been quite a journey getting to this point. The groundbreaking took place on the site of the original Dare County campus. The buildings that comprised that campus, though, could not be saved.

At one time the main building as the Manteo Middle School. Constructed in what was a marsh and never properly drained or mitigated, the building was in recent years plagued with black mold that could not be completely eradicated.

The auditorium, which was home to the Theater of Dare, was at a low spot and was prone to flooding.

The result was the campus was no longer practical to use, but interest in community college courses has been steadily growing.

Dare County Commitment to Education and College of the Albemarle

Four yeas ago, the Dare County Commissioners began the process of planning for a new campus. Initially it was hoped something could be done with the existing buildings, but an examination of them revealed structural repairs, mold eradication and ongoing upkeep would ultimately be more expensive than a new building.

The state offered $1.5 million in bonds. Those funds would cover the cost of demolition of the existing buildings but leave little for new construction.

The commissioners initially pledged $9.5 million but after focus groups defined the needs, the commissioners pledged an additional $7 million.

In addition to being the major source of funding for the new buildings, Dare County also covers the tuition for any Dare County student who wishes to take courses at COA—an extraordinary benefit that allows graduating high school students to have the first two years of a four year degree fully funded.

Dare County and the Outer Banks is an amazing place to raise a family. Brindley Beach Vacations is proud to be a part of life on a sandbar.