Renovations continue on a new facility that will house the Stuart Volunteer Fire Department and space that will be rented by Patrick Henry Community College, according to the contractor working on the project.
Kenneth Knowles, of Clark Brothers Company, Inc., said he is hopeful the new inhabitants will be moved into the new space in July.
The Town of Stuart purchased the 28,800 square-foot former Food Lion building to house the Stuart Volunteer Fire Department – in celebration of 104 years of service to the community.
The fire department will use 23,800 square feet of the facility and the remaining 5,000 square feet will be rented by Patrick Henry Community College to be used as an expansion for a special training location for students, said Town Manager Terry Tilley.
Knowles and his construction crew are making headway on the renovations, with major interior projects like drywall and flooring now completed, he said. Now, work crews are putting the finishing touches on painting projects. They also are installing brick and other tasks on the façade of the building, he added.
“I am looking forward to it – it’s moving along, and looking great. I can’t wait to get to the part where we start parking trucks in there,” said Stuart Mayor Ray Weiland.
The fire department will be fully equipped with parking spaces for trucks, a large equipment room, spacious showers and restrooms, and a large room with ample space for trainings. It will include seating and televisions. The new facility also has a sizeable parking lot, as well as storage space located in the back of the building and a large open area to host banquets, Weiland said.
Stuart allocated 5,000 square feet for PHCC, allowing students to have onsite training for “high-demand, occupational growth areas without students having to drive significant distances to the Martinsville campus,” according to a recent release.
Weiland said the renovations on that portion of the building are nearly complete, minus an entrance door large enough to move equipment in and some last-minute finishing touches.
The expanded community college presence for PHCC was possible due to a partnership between the Patrick County Educational Foundation, Patrick Henry Community College and the Patrick Henry Community College Foundation and the Town of Stuart.
Space there will accommodate mechatronics training, engineering that focuses on electrical and mechanical systems, and certifications (levels 1, 2 and3) on new equipment, as well as a “flex space” for potential or current employers to train employees on new equipment, customized trainings for business and industry, and Industry 4.0 and Festo Industry 4.0 Certifications, according to a release.
“We’re very excited to bring world-class training opportunities to the citizens of Patrick County,” said PHCC president, Dr. Angeline Godwin. This is a win for Patrick County. It’s a win for PHCC. And it’s a win for the citizens that will benefit from the economic development a facility of this caliber will bring.”