A local college has kicked off work on a $24 million renovation project.
John Tyler Community College ceremonially broke ground last week on upgrades to two buildings on its Chester campus at 13101 Jefferson Davis Highway.
The school will renovate and nearly double the size of its student center, the Nicholas Center, and renovate Bird Hall, one of its original buildings.
JTCC President Ted Raspiller said the project has been nearly three years in the making.
“I’m beside myself for what it means for John Tyler,” Raspiller said at Friday’s ceremony.
The Nicholas Center, a student center featuring a bookstore, fitness center, student lounge and the president’s office, will get a 25,000-square-foot addition and renovations to existing space.
JTCC’s workforce development program, the Community College Workforce Alliance, will be housed in the center’s new addition, as well as a lab, conference room and additional classrooms.
“Since 2011, 90 percent of jobs added require more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree. That’s our sweet spot,” Raspiller said.
The 37,000-square-foot Bird Hall, which dates to 1966, will receive upgrades to make room for the school’s health sciences programs, a variety of labs, faculty offices and a student lounge area.
The school has said financing for the project comes from funds approved through the General Assembly and existing school funding sources, including bookstore and café commissions, student fees, and funds from the 10 localities served by the college.
JTCC is a public community college with an annual enrollment of about 14,000 students, 55 percent of whom attend the Chester campus. Its students are eligible for admission to all Virginia public colleges.
The school, which also has a Midlothian campus on Charter Colony Parkway, is aiming to complete renovations by the start of the fall 2019 school year.
Donley’s Construction is the general contractor. The upgrades were designed by Grimm + Parker Architects.