State budget includes millions for App State Hickory Campus, Newton water treatment project | Govt. and politics
Tens of millions of dollars could soon be flowing to Catawba County for major projects, namely the Hickory campus of Appalachian State University and a sewage treatment expansion in Newton.
On Friday, the three Catawba County lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly, Senator Dean Proctor and Representatives Mitchell Setzer and Jay Adams, announced $47.3 million in funding to various local governments and organizations of Catawba County.
Just over 90% of that funding is for two projects: $9 million for Appalachia State’s new Hickory campus and $33.75 million for a wastewater treatment plant in Newton.
Lawmakers noted in their statement released Friday afternoon that the funding is preliminary pending action on the budget by Governor Roy Cooper.
The university will have no trouble finding ways to use this stipend in the former Corning headquarters building near U.S. Highway 321, which the university purchased to serve as the site for the new campus.
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During a campus tour in April, university officials said they would upgrade building systems to improve energy efficiency, add new carpeting and paint, and should also undertake asbestos removal work.
NC House President Tim Moore was on hand for the tour and praised the new campus, describing it as a deal of the century.
University leaders have targeted fall 2023 as the start date for classes on the new campus. They met with Hickory leaders to form a Hickory Campus Advisory Council to determine course offerings at Hickory.
Anna Oakes, director of news and media relations at the university, said the council is expected to hold its first meeting later this month.
The other major component of the county’s allocation will go towards expanding the capacity of the Clark Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant from 5 million gallons to 7.5 million gallons, said Alex Frick, manager. of Newton’s public information.
“It’s about making sure we’re ready for the growth we’re seeing right now and can accommodate it in the future,” Frick said.
He said design and engineering of the project is expected to take place in the coming months, while construction is expected to take three to five years.
Kevin Griffin is the Hickory City Reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.