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Willis Building

Building History
Other Names: Regional Development InstituteWillis
Date Built: 1974
Date Razed:
Cost of Construction: $392,000
Gross Square Feet: 15,366
Assignable Square Feet: 8,768
Architects: McGee, Scovil & Rairden

Namesake: Thomas W. Willis (March 28,1923-December 25,1983), a native of Farmville, graduated from Wake Forest College in 1948, where he majored in Business Administration. He was Assistant City Manager in Raleigh for two years, then city manager in Newton for five years before joining the staff of the NC Department of Conservation and Development as an "Industry Hunter." After 18 months with this department he returned to Farmville as Executive Director of the Economic Council. Willis was the first director of Regional Development Institute (RDI) in 1964 and served until his retirement in 1981. He played a dynamic role in creating programs and obtaining funding for the institute despite not having any staff and marginal office facilities.

History: Located at the corner of First and Reade Streets, Willis Building is the home of Regional Development Services which includes the Center for Applied Technology, the NC Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and the Small Business & Technology Development Center. The Willis Building was dedicated on December 13, 1974. The Regional Developmenet Institute was established in 1964 to be an inter-disciplinary organization.Its objective is to promote the economic growth of Eastern North Carolina. It provides technical assistance to communities needing additional facilities, commercial expansion, or advisory service on related state and federal programs. The modern structure housing RDI is located at the corner of First and Reade Streets. It contains offices, an auditorium for public speakers and films, conference rooms and a substantial library of North Carolina literature.

Additions: 1991 - Roof repairs

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