Wilkes Community College kicked off its community campaign to raise funds for the welding and diesel technology facility on Thursday March 8 at The Alleghany Center.

The new facility will be named The Blan Bottomley Welding & Diesel Center in memory of William Blan Bottomley. Martha Bottomley and her family wanted to honor Blan’s memory with the naming of the facility and support the campaign. William Blan Bottomley passed away on September 1, 2015. He was the patriarch of the county’s largest family farming enterprise. He and his son started Bottomley Evergreen Farms in 1990 and it grew into a sprawling operation with fields in northwest North Carolina and southwest Virginia as well as Nevada and Oregon. They are one of the largest shippers and suppliers of Christmas trees and Christmas greens in the United States.

“The welding and diesel lab will be a great addition to the Alleghany Center of Wilkes Community College,” stated Dr. Jeff Cox, WCC President. “With the prevalence of farming and agribusiness in this community, there is a real need for the programs we will be able to offer in Alleghany with the addition of this facility.”

The Connect NC Bond, approved by voters in 2016, was the foundation for a new welding and diesel facility to be constructed adjacent to the Alleghany Center. The construction and renovation will be a long-term, sustainable project that will benefit students and instructors for the next several generations. This project will allow a new facility at the Alleghany Center that promotes innovative technologies and is conducive to future expansion as the state’s population grows.

The project encompasses the construction of a 2,500 square-foot, state-of-the-art welding and diesel lab and purchase of equipment, with a total cost of $525,000. Funds committed thus far include:

  • $150,000 from NC Connect Bond
  • $75,000 from Alleghany County
  • $150,000 from Wilkes Community College

The WCC Foundation has committed to a fundraising campaign for the remaining $150,000 needed. Through grants and private donations, we have currently raised 57% of our goal. We are asking for community support to complete this much needed project. “A facility such as this in Alleghany County will allow Wilkes Community College to prepare individuals for employment locally and beyond with skills needed that will provide them with a living wage. It is an exciting time for the community college and Alleghany County students,” stated Susan Nilo, Alleghany Center director.

 For more information or to make a donation, contact Susan Nilo, director of Alleghany Center at 336-372-5061, Ext. 4 or srnilo128@wilkescc.edu; or Allison Phillips, executive director, WCC Foundation at 336-838-6491 or alphillips068@wilkescc.edu.