2023 should bring changes, progress on projects

ASHEBORO — There’s plenty to look forward to around Randolph County in 2023.

The past year has set some of the foundation for the future.

Here’s a sampling:

Ongoing megasite impact

Certainly, the fallout associated with the Greensboro-Randolph megasite has largely been in its infancy during the past year. With Toyota’s announcement in late 2021 that it’s building a massive battery manufacturing plant at the location, the impact is only going to grow once the facility is up and running.

To be known as Toyota Battery Manufacturing-North Carolina, this is plugged as a multi-billion dollar operation. Production is supposed to begin in 2025, but that makes 2023 an important year in order to reach that goal.

The process of reaching that point will bring about changes, particularly in and around Liberty. Some of those changes in traffic and business have already been noticed this past year, and more are bound to develop during this upcoming one.

Update for Randolph Community College

Randolph Community College’s leadership situation could be resolved.

Bill Aiken had been named interim president upon the retirement of Robert Shackleford Jr. In July, the school announced that Elbert Lassiter would serve as acting president while the search for a permanent president takes place.

Lassiter is the vice president of workforce development and continuing education.

Meanwhile, there was a survey generated to seek ideas and opinions regarding the presidential search. Also, in mid-December, a pair of forums were held to gain feedback and build a presidential profile.

Asheboro High School campus

The renovation project on the campus of the largest high school in the county should move toward completion.

The magnitude of the renovations is likely to be significant, but the impact has loomed large in terms of operations for parts of several school years.

The project involves additional classrooms, an expanded band area, multi-purpose spaces, and landscaping. The gym area has been largely off-limits, meaning that this has been the second school year when indoor sports are being held at other venues, and some of the high school’s teams have been displaced to varying degrees.

Pay boosts in education

In the Randolph County School System, staffing shortages have been a hindrance since the pandemic.

Now retention bonuses are being offered that will reward current employees and new hires.

Current staff members can receive a bonus in late June if they remain employed through the end of the 2022-23 school year. 

New hires on board by Jan. 9 will pick up a one-time bonus of $500 in their first paychecks and another $500 if they’re still employed by the end of the school year, albeit some of those will be prorated.

Substitute teachers are also in line for bonuses early this year.