Local business, educational, industrial and civic leaders, including Charles W. McCrary Sr. made a bid to the N.C. Legislature for funds to locate a vocational-technical school in Randolph County. This was the first formal bid to be made in Raleigh. McCrary was elected to the State Board of Education in 1956.
April 3, 1958
Randolph County receives tentative approval from the State Board of Education for its vocational-technical school which will open in 1962.
Randolph was selected as one of 11 sites for industrial education centers in the state.
Bond issue provided $350,000 to construct a center.
A joint city-county committee is formed to oversee the establishment and operation of the RIEC. This committee's initial members were Lynn Albright, Ernest C. Routh, Wade H. Harris, W.J. Boger Jr., W. Frank Redding Jr., Guy B. Teachey, Robert L. Reese, and T. Henry Redding.
A 25-acre tract in the Industrial Park on U.S. 220 South was chosen as a building site.
Al G. Farkas, a native of Vienna, Austria, and a professor of Civil Technology at NC State College since 1955, is hired as the first director of the Randolph Industrial Education Center. His office is located in the basement of Fayetteville Street School. His time is spent with J.J. Croft, architect, and S.E. Trogdon, contractor, in developing the building plans for the new school. He is also responsible for setting up the curriculum/programs for the new school.
Farkas resigns and Robert E. Carey of Pennsylvania is named the new director of the Randolph Industrial Education Center.
Eugenia Gardner is hired as the first secretary of the RIEC and she and Director Carey work out of the Fayetteville Street School office as the new building takes shape.
The County Board of Commissioners appropriated $51,880 to complete the center and the City Board of Education approved an operating budget of $28,000, $15-20,000 of which was derived from state funds.
Erman S. Cox is hired as the school's first maintenance supervisor. At this point, the only staff members were Carey, Gardner, and Cox.
The first out-of-school industrial training program to be organized by the RIEC began with four students. The purpose of the program was to train potential employees for the Asheboro-area Needle Trades Industries. This first class consisted of four women and was taught by Helen A. Prevatte from Thomasville, N.C. The students were issued a certificate signed by the State Supervisor of Trade and Industrial Education upon completing the course.
Asheboro School Board named Merton H. Branson associate director of the new Randolph Industrial Education Center. On June 11, 1962, the entire staff--Director, Associate Director, Maintenance Man, and Secretary move in. Final inspection of the 33,000-square-foot, one-story, L-shaped building took place on June 30, 1962. Two wings with classrooms and laboratories in one and shops in the other, were connected.
The first five instructors were hired. These were Malcolm H. Ritchie, Mathematics; Shelby V. Morgan Jr., Chemistry/Physics; Jack E. Steele Jr., Electronics; Bryant N. Barden, Welding/Sheet Metal; and John L. Roberson, Electricity. The curriculum offerings are established for the opening of the school and these were Automotive Mechanics (2 years); Drafting (2 years); Electricity (2 years); Electronics (2 years); Machine Shop (2 years); and Welding (1 year).
Sept. 4, 1962
RIEC opened its doors for classes with an enrollment of 115 full-time students who ranged in age from 16 to 45 years, eight faculty members and four staff members. Three new faculty members were on board by the end of August. These were: Lowell M. Whatley, Auto Mechanics; Clarence M. Frazier, Machine Shop; and Frances F. Taylor; English/Speed Reading/Communicative Skills. When the school opened, its original service area included Anson, Montgomery, Stanly, and Randolph counties.
The first extension courses (Continuing Education) classes are offered.
Two new faculiy members are added: Joe H. Anderson, Drafting and Calvin Brower, Drafting. Both men worked at General Electric. Iris Ragland, bookkeeper/librarian, also joined the staff.
The Randolph Industrial Education Center's first student placements came in November of 1962, two months after the school opened, from a Drafting class taught by Joe H. Anderson, superintendent of the General Electric plant drafting room. The students were Alvin Williamson of Asheboro and C.B. Grimes of Ramseur. Both men were employed at Moore-Gardner & Associates, Engineers.
February 11, 1963
The school's first satellite center, a Knitters' Apprenticeship Training School, began in Troy, NC at the old Page Street School. This program was operated in conjunction with the Montgomery County Knitter's Association. Clarence Boylen served as coordinator with a group of 7 instructors. The satellite center operated until 1967, when Montgomery Community College was established.
The official dedication of the Randolph Industrial Education Center took place with a welcome at the Masonic Lodge. Dallas Herring, Chairman of the State Board of Education and one of the founding fathers of the NC Community College System spoke at the event. An open house was held at the school to showcase the facilities.
Future RCC President Larry K. Linker was hired as agricultural technology coordinator.
City and county school boards appointed four members and the county commissioners appointed four members to serve as the eight trustees for the school. The first trustees were J.W. Plummer, chairman; Cleveland H. Thayer, vice chairman; Richard B. Sweeney; Lynn Albright; Ernest Routh; T.A. Johnson; David S. Underwood; E.S. Millsaps; and John N. Ogburn Jr., board attorney.
The newly formed Board of Trustees of the Randolph Industrial Education Center hold their first meeting. J. W. "Willie" Plummer is elected chairman. He will go on to serve on the board until 1996.
Diplomas were presented to the first full-length course graduates. These six students completed a one-year program in Welding, attending three-hour classes five days a week. Welding instructors were Bryant N. Barden and Paul H. Newby.
Director Robert E. Carey resigned and Merton H. Branson was elected director of the RIEC on January 1, 1964. By that time, Larry Linker had joined the staff as agricultural technology coordinator and was appointed assistant director of instruction in 1964.
Randolph Industrial Education Center becomes the first IEC in the state to establish a Learning Lab. The primary purpose for which the learning lab was set up was to provide all necessary materials and facilities for adults to obtain their high school equivalency diplomas.
The first class of adult basic education began.
The first formal graduation exercises are held Sunday, August 16, 1964. Thirty-six students received diplomas and graduated from the two-year Automotive Mechanics, Drafting, Machine Shop, and Welding Programs. The wives of the first two-year graduates in 1964 received "GoodWife" diplomas presented by Larry Linker and John L. Roberson. Linker, who was assistant director of the RIEC at this time, introduced the wives and spoke of the recognition to which they were entitled for helping their husbands with the difficulties of combining work, home life and study.
The Center had grown to 11 staff members, 13 full-time and 27 part-time faculty members and had served approximately 2,700 people.
October 20, 1965
The Board of Trustees adopted Randolph Technical Institute as the new name and were authorized to award Associate in Applied Science degrees.