Asheville–Buncombe Technical Community College (A-B Tech) is a public community college based in Asheville, North Carolina. Established in 1959, the college is one of the oldest in the North Carolina Community College System and serves Buncombe and Madison counties through five different campuses, while students from anywhere can enroll. As of the 2014-15 academic year, there were 10,070 students enrolled in the program and 14,053 students enrolled in continuing education. Those numbers make the school one of the highest in North Carolina. A-B Tech offers over 120 degrees, diplomas and certificates.
Practice Nursing was the first program offered by the college. Electronics Engineering Technology and Machinist programs started in 1960. Today, A-B Tech offers associate degrees in Education, Science, Fine Arts and Engineering, over 30 college transfer options, and between one and two semester diplomas and certificates. Numerous programs are related to each of these degrees. As of 2015, nearly 23 per cent of A-B Tech students graduate with their associate degree, while others earn a certificate or diploma.
Most receive general education classes for one or two years before moving to a four-year university to complete their course of study. AB Tech has articulation agreements formed with all public 4-year universities in the UNC network, and some of them offer direct transfer programs. There are also incentives for juniors and seniors in high school to earn university credit before graduation, which will be transferred to a university, as well as the Early College program where high school students will obtain GED credit.
The main campus of the Asheville–Buncombe Technical Community College is on the former estate of Col. John Kerr, a hero of the American Civil War. The 144-acre campus has historic buildings, including Fernihurst, the Smith-McDowell House and the Sunnicrest. Fernihurst, former summer home of Col. John Kerr, is a brick Italinate-style house named after the ancestral castle of Kerr in Scotland. Located on a hill just south of Smith-McDowell Hall, Fernihurst is part of the A-B Tech Community College Culinary Arts program.
The Smith-McDowell house on the A-B Tech campus was built for James McConnell Smith in 1840. The house is the oldest brick building in Buncombe County[ and is now a non-profit museum included in the National Register of Historic Places. Sunnicrest is one of five (and the only remaining) of the R.S. Smith-designed model cottages constructed by George Vanderbilt on Vernon Hill in what was then Victoria. Sunnicrest is home to the A-B Tech Community College Human Resources Department.
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