It’s been a long time coming, but well worth the wait. On June 1, Forsyth Tech held a grand opening for the Oak Grove Center, Phase Two, which adds 130,000 square feet of classroom, administrative and conference space to the college’s Main Campus in Winston-Salem.
At the core of the celebration was the dedication of the Center’s new 856-seat conference room to the college’s longest serving board of trustee member, Dewitt E. Rhoades. Mr. Rhoades served the college for 38 years, from 1976-2014, and held the positions of board chairman and vice chairman. He told the audience that he is proud to have helped Forsyth Tech expand to Kernersville and King during his tenure.
Mr. Rhoades also served as a trustee for the N.C. Association of Community Colleges. In 1981, he was appointed to the National Small Business Advisory Council by President Ronald Reagan. Mr. Rhoades is the retired owner and president of DERA Inc. of Winston-Salem, an office equipment company.
As part of the dedication ceremony, Mr. Rhoades received the North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine award, one of the most valued awards conferred by the Governor of North Carolina, for his local, state and national leadership. State Representative Donny Lambeth, a former Forsyth Tech trustee, presented Mr. Rhoades with the award.
During his remarks, Forsyth Tech President Dr. Gary Green indicated that the Dewitt E. Rhoades Conference Center has been designed to provide a venue for college events and additional space for student activities. It also represents an opportunity for the college to open its doors to local community-based groups and organizations.
The Oak Grove Center expansion houses some of Forsyth Tech’s high-demand programs, including graphic arts, horticulture, HVAC, plumbing, electrical wiring and carpentry. The space also houses the early childhood lab and the science skills learning lab. Other features of the newly renovated space include a simulated manufacturing area that trains students for employment at the Winston-Salem Caterpillar plant as well as a 788-square-foot art gallery to display artwork from local artists and students enrolled in the Associate of Fine Arts program and community enrichment classes.