Our hard-working ACE Center students, with the Department of Workforce and Career Development, have been working on a new project since last spring and the news is out across the county. Our ACE Center trades students, carpentry, electricity, masonry, and HVAC, who are usually starting to build their next house are working at Regency Square Mall. What are they doing at the mall? Well, they are hanging out with their friends and demolishing and building out about 8+ former store fronts in the section of the mall in front of where JC Pennies used to be. Follow this link to the NBC12 news story.
The mall has been going through many major changes in the past few years since it first opened in 1975. In recent years, the mall has lost all its “anchor” stores, but new owners see a great future for the mall. The old Macy’s is now a NOVA Swimming center. There are apartments going up on the Quioccain/Starling Dr. corner of the mall, and there are many new shops along the perimeter of the mall parking area. A large grocery store is moving into one of the anchor store locations. Surge Adventure Park, Panara Bread, salons, and restaurants have opened with more coming!
The space that our students are renovating will convert 12 storefronts into over 35 classrooms and office space. Our CAD or Computer Aided Drafting students worked with architects to design possible space layouts. Our trades students have the rare chance to work on a commercial work site while learning hands on with their instructors, and many private contractors who are excited to participate in their education.
Mac Beaton, Director of Workforce and Career Development (CTE), has a “vision” to develop this new space into a powerful “learning opportunity.” The building will function not only as a school where adult education instruction will take place; it will also be an “advertisement” for Workforce and Career Development opportunities:
• Each existing “store front” will remain to promote various careers and opportunities.
• Our goal will be to encourage adult students to become life-long learners and provide opportunities for continual growth through education.
• This space will include a Pearson’s Testing Lab that will be accessible to the community offering GED testing, industry certification testing, and other tests that will provide adults with a path forward in their career.
• The space can serve as a “source of information” for the community with rooms available for meetings and extended learning opportunities.
HCPS is partnering with Henrico County Federal Credit Union to provide “financial literacy” opportunities:
• Henrico FCU will provide ongoing training opportunities for the community in a designated space design specifically for this purpose.
Who will be served by the Adult Education Center at Regency???
• Over 6000+ adult students from around the region are expected to enroll in courses taught at the site.
• The adult students will come primarily from:
o Charles City
o New Kent
How can area businesses become a partner of “The Vision???”
• Sponsor a “store front” to provide information and career opportunities
• Promote your industry to an audience that is eager to enter the workforce or be retrained.
• Offer unique instructional opportunities that will help retool adults.
• Help by working side-by side with students entering various trades as they complete their training.
• Be the first to “hire” your next employee through your involvement with the project.
For more information you can contact Mac Beaton at firstname.lastname@example.org
See the artist’s rendering of the new school below.