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Appalachian State buys former Corning building in Hickory for new campus

The future App State Hickory Campus has frontage along Highway 321, is located less than two...
The future App State Hickory Campus has frontage along Highway 321, is located less than two miles away from the Hickory Regional Airport and four miles away from Interstate 40, and is close to downtown Hickory as well as two regional hospitals.(Appalachian State University)
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 7:52 AM EST
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BOONE, N.C. (WBTV) - Appalachian State University has announced its purchase of the former Corning Optical Communications Building, located at 800 17th St. NW in the city of Hickory. The building will be used for a new Hickory campus for App State.

According to a news release, recognizing that App State’s growth potential in Boone is limited, the university has been looking for areas that have growth capacity and market potential for both on-campus and online programs. This growth will allow App State to continue to fulfill its educational mission and its responsibility to educate the citizens of the State of North Carolina.

“Hickory is a vibrant, growing city, just a short drive from Boone, that offers opportunities for App State to continue the mission we have had since 1899 — to increase access to education,” said Appalachian Chancellor Sheri Everts. “For those who want an App State education but choose to live and work in the Hickory area; for those who may have begun but not completed their undergraduate degrees — App State is here for you.”

At 225,800 square feet, the five-story building is larger than any building on App State’s Boone campus, including the 203,000-square-foot Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences. The building sits on 15.7 acres of land and includes large open spaces, a cafeteria and nearly 700 parking spaces.

“We are extremely excited — we’re ecstatic — today that Appalachian State University is expanding its presence in Hickory and taking advantage of the former Corning headquarters building to increase educational opportunities in Hickory and to equip our workforce with the skills needed to meet the demands of today’s employers,” said Hickory Mayor Hank Guess.

Positioning an App State campus in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton metro area aligns with the university’s mission to increase access to higher education and with the UNC Strategic Plan priorities of:

    • Increasing the number of rural and first-generation students who attend and graduate from App State, while also increasing the diversity of our university population.
    • Serving the needs of North Carolina by increasing the critical workforce credentials in the fields of health professions, teacher education, science, technology, engineering, and math.

An audit of the building will be performed to assess energy and efficiency needs as well as opportunities to advance the university’s sustainability mission.

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