Forsyth Technical Community College held the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Mazie S. Woodruff Aviation Technology Lab at 2739 Aviation Drive in Winston-Salem on the grounds of Smith Reynolds Airport.

“In 2016, Forsyth Tech leaders worked diligently to secure funding for the project and we are grateful to the Forsyth County Commissioners for moving forward with the bond referendum for capital improvements at Forsyth Tech, including the Mazie S. Woodruff Aviation Technology Lab,” said Ann Bennett Phillips, board chair, Forsyth Tech board of trustees.

The lab will be named in memory of Mazie S. Woodruff, the first African-American elected to serve on the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners.

“Ms. Woodruff’s dedication to education, her commitment to change and social justice, and her devotion to public service is unparalled,” said Spriggs. “All of us at Forsyth Tech share her passion for public service and access to high quality education for everyone. I also believe we share a belief in the power of education to empower individuals and transform lives and communities.”

Guests at the ceremony included members of the Woodruff family, Forsyth County Commissioners, Smith Reynolds Airport Board, Forsyth Tech board of trustees, North Carolina Community College System representatives and community leaders.

Guest Speakers included Ann Bennett Phillips, board chair, Forsyth Tech Board of Trustees; David R. Plyer, board chair, Forsyth County Board of Commissioners; Vivian H. Burke, mayor pro tempore and Winston-Salem City Council Member representing the Northeast Ward; Mr. Peter Hans, president of the North Carolina Community College System; Scott Piper, board chair, Smith Reynolds Airport; and Janet N. Spriggs, president, Forsyth Technical Community College.

The 53,000 square foot facility will include a 12,000 square foot air frame lab that can accommodate eight aircraft. The two-story building will include classrooms and components labs including sheet metal, composite structures, avionics/electrical, paint, aircraft welding and piston/turbine engines.

The lab will provide high-tech educational programming to build a skilled workforce of Aviation Maintenance Technicians and Avionics Electronics Technicians. Aviation Systems Technology will provide students with the knowledge and skills to qualify for an aircraft mechanic’s certificate with airframe and power plant ratings, and Aviation Electronics (Avionics) Technology will educate students in the operations, repair and overhaul of general avionics, electrical and electronic systems, practical wiring, navigation, flight management and communications equipment.

The aviation technology lab building is expected to cost $16 million and construction completion is set for Fall 2020.