CFCC announces Wilson Center expansion, $3.99 million grant

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College will soon be growing, with an expansion project announced during a ceremony on Tuesday.

The Wilson Center is known for hosting national Broadway touring productions, concerts, symphonic performances, and more. Now CFCC is aiming to make the experience better for students, performers, and attendees.

Donors Henry and Roya Weyerhaeuser have gifted the Wilson center $500,000 to create a new special event space and donor lounge, expanded student offices, expanded Guest Services facilities, lobby support space. The project will also re-locate Ticket Central to a more visible and accessible location.

The Weyerhaeusers celebrated the announcement with a mock groundbreaking ceremony.

“I am so much an art lover, I’m a musician, my husband and I came down from New York, we love arts and this has been such a wonderful wonderful place,” Roya Weyerhaeuser said.

Shane Fernando, Vice President of Advancement and the Arts at CFCC, unveiled renderings for the project and discussed how the new space will be utilized.

“It will be used for our members, pre-show we have receptions for our members here and also it’s going to have some multipurpose opportunities,” Fernando said. “So we’ll be able to use it for educational programs when we have visiting artists, having them do workshops for students here at the college and students from various community organizations.”

CFCC President Jim Morton says although COVID-19 forced nearly 200 shows at the Wilson Center to be canceled or rescheduled, he’s confident the coming months will be successful.

“We’re going to come out of the gate strong again with announcements of Melissa Etheridge and ZZ Top and Village People and Price is Right,” Morton said. “So we think we’re going to be stronger than we were before.”

Morton also announced Tuesday that CFCC would receive a $3.997 million Pathway Home grant from the Department of Labor. The college partners with the prison system in New Hanover and Pender Counties to provide educational opportunities, courses, and workforce training for incarcerated people. This grant will help grow that program.

“It’s really to help individuals that have been incarcerated to help fast track them into the workforce,” Morton said. “It’s almost $4 million for us which is actually the largest grant we’ve ever received at Cape Fear Community College.”

Read more about the Wilson Center expansion here.

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