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RCC President/CEO leads round table discussion on future hotel and convention center

Photo of a person standing in front of a room full of people and talking.
Randolph Community College President/CEO Dr. Shah Ardalan [standing] welcomes guests to a round table discussion on a future hotel and convention center in Asheboro on Thursday, May 23, in the College’s Allied Health Center. Seated next to Ardalan are Reid Wilson, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) [left]; Asheboro City Manager John Ogburn [center right], and Randolph County Manager Zeb Holden [far right].

Randolph Community College (RCC) proudly hosted a significant meeting that brought together Reid Wilson, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR), and other prominent leaders on Thursday, May 23. The gathering included a tour of the Asheboro Campus and focused on strategies and action plans for a hotel and convention center in Asheboro.

“This project represents a tremendous opportunity for the development of our region and will drive significant economic growth in tourism and business development,” RCC President/CEO Dr. Shah Ardalan said. “The collaborative spirit and shared vision demonstrated by Randolph County leaders is truly inspiring, and I believe we all agree that the time for action is now. As an engine of prosperity and growth, RCC is committed to expanding our partnership with the North Carolina Zoo and others in support of this initiative.”

Secretary Wilson was highly impressed by the tour and the College’s facilities. He recalled that the concept of a hotel and conference center was proposed seven years ago and agreed that the region’s growth now necessitates serious consideration of this initiative.


Asheboro Mayor David Smith shares his thoughts on the future hotel and convention center.

Pat Simmons, Director and CEO of the North Carolina Zoo, highlighted the zoo’s current annual visitors count is over one million, which is expected to increase with upcoming expansions.

“We’re ready to find out what all of you want to see happening in this community and how we fit in," she said. "We need to look at this holistically. I care deeply about the community, and I want to make sure it’s right for the community.”

Randolph County Commissioners Chairman Darrell Frye, Asheboro Mayor David Smith, and North Carolina Zoo Council Chair and Asheboro Mayor Pro Tem Walker Moffitt also shared their perspectives and support.

Participants engaged in rich and insightful discussions about several key projects poised to drive the city’s growth, including the zoo expansion, the renovated McCrary Park, and the new Zoo City Sportsplex. The enthusiastic participation and comments from attendees underscored a shared vision for the county’s bright future. Recognizing the timing is perfect, the participants committed to bring a nationally renowned firm on board to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study. They also agreed on the need to solicit the proper public-private partnership to ensure that these projects meet the community’s needs and pave the way for sustained growth and development.

The meeting was adjourned with comments by RCC Board Chair Reynolds Lisk, who thanked the participants and emphasized the critical importance of the meeting and this project in the future of the region.

Other distinguished attendees included:

  • RCC Board Vice Chair James Gouty,
  • DNCR Deputy Secretary for Natural Resources Jeff Michael,
  • C. Zoo Acting Deputy Director & Chief Communications Officer Diane Villa,
  • C. Zoo Society Development Officer and Corporate Counsel Chris Scott,
  • Asheboro City Manager John Ogburn,
  • Randolph County Commissioner David Allen,
  • Randolph County Manager Zeb Holden,
  • Tourism Marketing Coordinator for the Heart of North Carolina Business Bureau Melody Varner,
  • RCC Vice President of Operations Richard Weldon,
  • RCC Vice President of Learning and Workforce Development Suzanne Rohrbaugh,
  • RCC Strategic Planning and Development Officer Linda Brown.


Randolph Community College (RCC), under the leadership of President/CEO Dr. Shah Ardalan, is committed to providing relevant career training and educational opportunities. Affordable degrees and short-term certificate programs start throughout the year, both in person and online. For more information, call 336-633-0200 or visit and expect to engage with the most competent and compassionate team of faculty and staff.

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