National Foodworks, college to cooperate


DECATUR – A partnership with a food manufacturing hub coming to Brush Collage Road could spell ample educational opportunities for students at Richland Community College.

National Foodworks Services has purchased the corner Brush College School building to develop a food manufacturing and production facility with rental commercial kitchens geared toward providing an avenue for start-up businesses.

During the Richland Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday, Doug Brauer, vice president of economic development and innovative workforce solutions, said the anticipated food hub will provide an educational conduit for culinary and horticulture students, as well as open up a business development forum for students and the community.

In March, Richland President Gayle Saunders entered a memorandum of understanding between the college and National Foodworks Services, an agreement allowing Richland “to add educational expertise and service in a commercial kitchen incubator and co-packing business for food development, processing, packaging and distribution!’

Brauer said the facility could open the door to small- business development in the area, create internships and apprenticeships for students and give way to consulting opportunities with chefs in the Culinary Arts Institute.

“This is some exciting growth, I think, for the area:’ he said.

After renovations are completed’ the site is expected to open by the end of the year or early 2016.

In other business, the board approved bids in the amount of $13,900 to Bodine Electric of Decatur and $25,313 to Peoria – based SimplexGrinnell Corp. to extend the campus fire alarm and security systems.

The project includes the installation of fiber optic line to the Macon County Soil and Water Conservation District building from the college’s main network as well as new fire detectors and security cameras.

The board also swore in its new student trustee, Donnie Lewis, a Forsyth native, who worked as a truck representative at General Motors Co. for 17 years and began attending Richland in 2013.

“It is my goal to serve on this board and bring the student body closer to the administration:’ he said.  “Richland is a great place, and like any great place, it stays that way by moving forward!’