RCCC, community leaders confab on downtown Kannapolis


July 23. The recent Rowan-Cabarrus Community College summit with North Carolina Research Campus representatives, the mayor of Kannapolis and community members centered on NCRC’s and RCCC’s pivotal role in the growth and development of the campus and downtown Kannapolis.



Mayor Darrell Hinnant said he envisions downtown Kannapolis as a mixed-use destination with living, dining and entertainment options. The city has hired DFI, the company responsible for successfully revitalizing Downtown Durham, to develop an overall plan for downtown Kannapolis.

The city is also planning a conference center as part of the new Kannapolis municipal center and police headquarters.

Clyde Higgs, executive vice president at the North Carolina Research Campus, said the NCRC will be “ground zero for all things nutrition, agriculture and human health.” Economic spillover outside of the campus already includes “PreGel, Gordon Foods and S&D Coffee and Tea choosing the campus to conduct various research.”

Dr. Nicholas Gillet, director of the Dole Nutrition Institute, spoke on the importance of Dole’s work at the research campus.

“We are not just a company that sells things; we care about people’s health,” said Gillet. “Beyond education, we do our own research – very cool research that makes it exciting. We are also involved with many collaborative studies here at the research campus. Every one of us has open positions, for every Ph.D. you need a team to support their work. Everyone is recruiting, everyone needs more scientists, and that means more biotechnologists.”

Dr. Mary Ann Lila, director at the Plants for Human Health Institute, was present as well and spoke on how research is not solely based on nutrition, but on the ways foods can help reduce the symptoms of chronic disease.


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