RSS feed of this blog

Germanna looking at major construction

Germanna Community College officials are pursuing large projects in Stafford County and at the school’s Locust Grove Campus, though the plans are at least six years away from becoming a reality.

Germanna President David Sam says he hopes to eventually develop a full-fledged campus at a site next to Stafford Hospital off U.S. 1. The first step would be to construct an approximately $15 million to $25 million building that could serve at least 2,500 students.

That initial building will include an Automotive Technology Center, which currently operates out of leased space on Blackjack Road in Stafford.

At the Locust Grove Campus in Orange County, Sam hopes to replace the 44-year-old academic building with a 65,000-square-foot, three-story structure that would include wings for health care classes and core general education courses. The health care wing would include a simulated hospital for nursing students.

Both projects in the pipeline have not yet received state funding.

“I hope it shows people that we keep looking into the future about how we can continue to meet the needs of students, communities and businesses,” Sam said of the projects.

On a smaller scale, Germanna expects to add a temporary, 1,500-square-foot modular building at its Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper County by August. The estimated price tag of that building, which will have up to 10 offices, is $300,000.

Though the larger projects won’t happen anytime soon, Germanna does expect to hire a firm in the near future to complete a master plan for its Stafford location.

The Stafford site received a boost in October 2013, when the Board of Supervisors approved a development south of Stafford Hospital that will include 288 apartments and town houses on the eastern side of U.S. 1.

The developer, HHHunt, promised to donate 25 acres to Germanna Community College for a new campus directly south of the planned apartments.

Stafford and the city of Fredericksburg may donate an adjoining 10-acre parcel that is part of the Rappahannock Regional Landfill. That property is currently unused.

“They see us, along with the hospital and the county seat, as part of a triangle of key institutions around which they can build a liveable, walkable community,” Sam said.

Germanna is currently leasing about 4,000 square feet of classroom and office space at Aquia Center off U.S. 1 in North Stafford. That location, which has been over capacity since it opened in 2009, will close once the permanent facility is completed.

The Locust Grove Campus project also has some momentum. The State Board for Community Colleges has ranked it ninth on a list of its top 25 priorities for capital projects.

Sam said he’d like to start designing the project as soon as possible but doesn’t yet have the money.

The current building at Locust Grove, which opened in 1970, will be demolished after the new facility opens. Sam said it was “not built to modern standards.”

“The state finally said it doesn’t make any sense to keep wasting energy and money trying to keep this thing going,” he said.

Germanna currently has about 13,000 students at campuses in Spotsylvania County and Locust Grove and at its other locations in Stafford and Culpeper.

Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402