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Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College's new nursing and health science building is scheduled to be completed by April 11.

New OCtech nursing, health sciences building

Construction on Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College’s new $12.5 million nursing and health sciences building is expected to be complete by April 2019.

The 30,000-square-foot facility will feature a large tiered classroom, computer lab, study rooms, skills practice lab and simulation labs with the latest technology to prepare students for careers as health care professionals.

The funding includes $6 million from the state; $1.96 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration; $500,000 from Orangeburg County; $32,000 from Calhoun County; and about $1 million from the OCtech Foundation. The remaining money, about $3 million, came from the college’s capital projects fund.

The two-story structure will be located between buildings K and M, on the side of the campus near the Regional Medical Center.

The college broke ground for the building in October 2017.

The existing nursing and health science building is 25 years old.

Customers flock to reopened restaurant

An Orangeburg fast food chicken chain that was shut down because of a franchise legal dispute reopened in early July.

Church's Chicken is located in front of the Prince of Orange Mall.

Customers who had been missing the food from The T&D Region's only Church's Chicken were quick to return. The parking lot was full and the drive-thru was three cars deep as customers flocked to the dining establishment for an early lunch.

"Church's Chicken is my favorite place," St. Matthews resident Erica Parker said while dining on some chicken and macaroni and cheese. "I was so sad when they were closed. Now that it is open, I am so happy."

T&D Region roads to get $14.5M in paving

The S.C. Department of Transportation set aside $14.5 million to pave roads in The T&D Region.

Eight miles of Five Chop Road from U.S. 176 (Old State Road) to U.S. 15 (Bass Drive) and five miles of Old Number Six Highway from the Elloree town limit to the Santee town limit were scheduled to be paved.

A two-mile stretch of on U.S. 21 (Columbia Road) in Calhoun County from the Orangeburg County line to Murph Mill Road was also slated for paving.

Overall, SCDOT plans to spend $8.7 million on Orangeburg County roads, $3.2 million on Bamberg County roads and $2.6 million on Calhoun County roads.

The money will be used to pave a total of 64.9 miles in the three counties.

Roads getting safety improvements

Five Chop Road and Neeses Highway are slated for improvement.

The S.C. Department of Transportation will make the improvements as part of the second phase of the agency’s Rural Roads Safety Program.

About 10 miles of Five Chop Road (U.S. 301) from Laquinta Drive to Landsdowne Road will receive safety upgrades. The anticipated contract completion date is Oct. 31, 2019.

In addition, about 13.3 miles of Neeses Highway from Savannah Highway (U.S. 321) in Neeses to Shillings Bridge Road are scheduled for improvements.

Also, about three miles of Neeses Highway from Shillings Bridge Road to Cut Off Road are scheduled to be improved.

Both stretches of Neeses Highway are ranked 16th on the list to receive safety improvements. The anticipated construction date has not been determined.

Possible upgrades include: rumble strips, wider and brighter pavement markings, brighter signs, high-friction surface treatments, wider/paved shoulders, improved clear zones, guardrails, cable barriers, elimination of vertical drop-offs along pavement edges and beveling of driveway pipes.

Tri-County Co-op buys land for industrial site

Tri-County Electric Cooperative purchased property near the U.S. Highway 601 and Interstate 26 interchange for the future development of an industrial park.

"Of all the sites in South Carolina, this area was tagged as one of the prime development sites for economic development. It is a great site," Tri-County Chief Executive Officer Chad Lowder said.

"We have a pretty aggressive timeline for this park," Lowder said. "Tri-County's main economic goal is to get a major industry on this site. We have had a couple of interested parties looking into the site.”

Solar farm coming to Elloree

A Charleston-based solar company announced in August that it is investing $28 million in the development of a 20-megawatt solar farm near Elloree.

“Southern Current’s entire team commends Orangeburg County and its partners on this commitment to harness reliable, cost-effective solar energy for the future," Southern Current Chief Development Officer Paul Fleury said.

"This $28 million investment will produce a substantial amount of clean energy, which is good for the community and the entire state of South Carolina. We’re proud to be part of this important movement,” he said.

The 180-acre solar farm will be known as Ulmer Solar LLC. The solar farm will be located southwest of the Food Lion Distribution facility near Felderville Road, Veneer Street and Farmers Road.

The solar farm will create some local jobs during construction, and then local labor will be used for maintenance and upkeep. There will be no full-time jobs.

Grants to help building preservation at SCSU, Voorhees

South Carolina State University and Voorhees College were among 18 historically black colleges and universities receiving National Park Service grants to preserve buildings in the month of August.

S.C. State received $500,000 for the preservation of Wilkinson Hall.

The grant will fund repairs to the structure, which dates back to 1938 and is part of the S.C. State National Register Historic District.

Voorhees College in Denmark received $500,000 for the stabilization and preservation of Booker T. Washington Hall, which was built in 1905 as a hospital.

Lions mark milestone with gift of gardens' seating

The Orangeburg Lions Club made a special donation in August to commemorate the International Lions Club’s 100 years of service.

The club donated a bench and plaque in Edisto Memorial Gardens.

Five clubs -- Orangeburg, Anderson, Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville -- received $1,000 from the statewide Lions clubs each to erect benches.

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Staff Writer

Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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