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VHCC breaks ground on Advanced Technology and Workforce Development Center on campus

VHCC breaks ground on Advanced Technology and Workforce Development Center on campus

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ABINGDON, Va. — Construction began Nov. 10 on the new Advanced Technology and Workforce Development Center at Virginia Highlands Community College.

College officials in Abingdon grabbed golden shovels and broke ground for the building on Nov. 9 on a warm and sunny afternoon — the first addition to the main campus since the 1980s.

“The Advanced Technology and Workforce Development Center is an incredible opportunity for Virginia Highlands Community College to invest in the workforce of Southwest Virginia and the surrounding regions,” said Adam Hutchison, president of VHCC.

The $6 million state-of-the-art facility will provide classrooms and workspaces for the expansion of the college’s welding and diesel technology programs, as well as offices for Workforce Development and Continuing Education, according to college spokeswoman Kellie Crowe.

“It’s been a long time since Virginia Highlands has put an instructional building of this size and scope on campus,” Hutchison said.

“We value our relationship with business and industry partners,” Hutchison said. “And we’re committed to providing world-class resources to train and instruct students who will become the future of our region’s workforce.”

BurWil Construction designed the 18,000-square-foot building and will complete construction by September 2022, according to Crowe.

VHCC’s welding and diesel technology programs have been offered in off-campus locations, Crowe said.

The new facility is slated to provide on-campus instruction for students in those programs, as well as convenient access to campus resources, Crowe said.

Specifically, the new building will provide instructional space and industrial laboratories, as well as several mixed-use areas for student collaboration, a conference room and space for promoting technical occupations in high demand within the communities served by VHCC, Crowe said.

Eddie Fultz, VHCC’s instructor of welding for the past seven years, said training the students on campus will allow the programs to expand while also keeping students motivated and connected.

“We’re striving to give our students every possible advantage,” said Fultz.

The building is funded by private contributions, grant awards and institutional funds, Crowe said.

Even so, college officials like Hutchison said during the groundbreaking celebration that donations to the project are welcome.

“The work of Virginia Highlands is supported by an incredibly generous community,” said Laura Pennington, VHCC vice president of institutional advancement.

“We’re grateful for the confidence our alumni, private supporters and funding partners have placed in this project by investing to make the Advanced Technology and Workforce Development Center a reality,” Pennington said. “We hope today is just one of many firsts. On Wednesday [Nov. 10], we will begin to see the first of steel beams going up.”

jtennis@bristolnews.com | 276-791-0709 | @BHC_Tennis

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