HICKORY — App State will announce the purchase of the former Corning Optical Communications Building, located at 800 17th St. NW in the city of Hickory, as the site of a new campus at noon on Nov. 19. 

The university will unveil additional information on the App State Hickory Campus during a boon event at the building. App State Chancellor Sheri Everts, Hickory Mayor Hank Guess and President of Catawba County Economic Development Corporation Scott Millar are set to speak at the event.

According to the university, App State recognizes that growth potential in Boone is limited, which is why the university has been looking for areas that have growth capacity and market potential for both on-campus and online programs. This growth, according to the university, will allow App State to continue to "fulfill its educational mission and its responsibility to educate the citizens of the State of North Carolina."

In her remarks at the noon event, Everts is expected to talk about how the new campus will allow those who want an App State education but choose to live and work in the Hickory area as well as those who may have begun but not completed their undergraduate degrees more options and possibilities that weren't there before.  

According to the university, the five-story building — at 225,800 square feet — is larger than any building on App State’s Boone campus, including the 203,000-square-foot Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences. The building sits on 15.7 acres of land and includes large open spaces, a cafeteria and nearly 700 parking spaces.

An audit of the building will be performed to assess energy and efficiency needs as well as opportunities to advance the university’s sustainability mission, according to App State.

The future App State Hickory Campus has frontage along Hwy 321 and is located less than two miles away from the Hickory Regional Airport and four miles away from Interstate 40. It is also close to downtown Hickory as well as two regional hospitals.

Until Nov. 19, the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton metro area was the largest metropolitan area in North Carolina that did not have a major, public university campus, according to the university.

With the App State campus positioned in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton metro area, the university stated it aligns with the university's mission to increase access to higher education and with the UNC Strategic Plan priorities of:

  • Increasing the number of rural and first-generation students who attend and graduate from App State, while also increasing the diversity of our university population.
  • Serving the needs of North Carolina by increasing the critical workforce credentials in the fields of health professions, teacher education, science, technology, engineering and math.

Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute in Hudson and Western Piedmont Community College in Morganton are all within a 30-minute drive of the App State Hickory Campus, and all three are partners in the Aspire Appalachian Co-Admission Program, which provides a seamless pathway for students enrolled at partner community colleges to complete their degree at App State.

The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Western Campus will open in Morganton this fall, which the university stated offers additional opportunities for App State/NCSSM partnerships on research projects, particularly related to sustainability and resilience in Western North Carolina.

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