Sunday, January 30, 2011

Groundbreaking for third building at GCC's Fredericksburg Area Campus 'an expression of faith and an investment in a positive future'

Left to right, GCC Local College Board chairman Dick Scheibe, Germanna President David A. Sam, Gov. Bob McDonnell, Rep. Rob Wittman, VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois and Gary Skinner of the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors.

MASSAPONAX--Germanna Community College broke ground Friday, Jan. 28, 2011 on Phase III of its Fredericksburg Campus in Spotsylvania--a three story, 50,000-square- foot academic building.

"In a time of uncertainty and economic crisis," GCC President David A. Sam said, "this building is an expression of faith and an investment in a positive future:

"for Germanna
for the students and communities we serve
for the Commonwealth of Virginia
and indeed for our nation."

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman and Virginia Community College System Chancellor Glenn DuBois also spoke, as did Gary Skinner of the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors.

DuBois called McDonnell the strongest supporter of community colleges to serve as governor since Mills Godwin, who started the VCCS in the 1960s. "This governor is a partner in our mission," DuBois said.

McDonnell complimented Germanna President Sam for his handling of challenge of the explosive growth Germanna has experienced in recent years, and he complemented GCC's leadership for what he called "the vision behind Phase III--a lot of emphasis placed on the (scientific) disciplines ... necessary "to maintain American exceptionalism" and compete with economic powers on the Pacific Rim.
Rep Wittman said that during a recent conversation with Steve Ballmer of Microsoft, Ballmer told him that stressing the teaching of science is critical to attracting innovative companies to a state. "A strong Workforce development program is the key for so many of these companies" as they chooses places to expand or relocate," McDonnell said.

The green building, designed by Clark Nexsen and to be built by Donley's Construction, will include a 13,000-foot state of the art library/learning resource center with stacks for 16,000 volumes, reading spaces, a multimedia lab, project and study rooms, four biology labs, two engineering labs, two environmental chambers for biology experiments, two chemistry labs, two two physics labs and two general purpose classrooms. It will also include office space for a dean, 18 full time faculty and 12 adjunct faculty; meeting rooms, a break room and IT space.

The project budget is $25,483,842. Construction is scheduled to begin March 1. Completion of Phase III is expected by Fall 2012.

Community colleges need non-state monies to pay for about 10 percent of any construction project. GCC's share of the original project budget was estimated to be about $2.5 million. Most of those funds came from a line of credit secured from the Educational Foundation ($1.6 million) and from the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors, which "spiritually committed" to contributing $1.2 million toward the project over a seven-year period.

"My gratitude goes to the local governments who have provided support for the college, and especially to Spotsylvania County who have already committed to helping fund this project," Dr. Sam said.

Germanna has separate plans for a parking structure at the Fredericksburg Campus to help meet increased demand for parking there. Clark Nexsen has been awarded the contract due to its work with the College on Phase III and its familiarity with the campus.

GCC, which also has a campus at Locust Grove and centers in Culpeper and Stafford, needed to expand because it has been the fastest-growing community college in the state and one of the fastest-growing in the country in recent years. In the year after Germanna added its Stafford Center in July 2009, that center had already filled up and the Fredericksburg Campus serves the majority of GCC's 7,500 credit students. Germanna's total headcount---the number of students taking at least one class, including non-credit classes--is approaching 14,000.

Germanna's service region includes the city of Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, Culpeper, King George, Madison, Orange, Spotsylvania, and Stafford.

GCC opened its original campus at Locust Grove in October 1970. Phase I of the Fredericksburg Campus, the Dickinson Building, opened in January 1997. Phase II, the Workforce Building, opened in October 2004. The Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper opened in 2006. The Stafford Center opened in 2009.