Commuters on Interstate 64 soon may have a new signpost of sorts for Piedmont Virginia Community College: rather than a small and easy-to-miss sign near the road, they will be able to see the planned Advanced Technical Training Center.
The center will rise “like a lantern” up the side of a hill, according to Jim Kovach, a senior associate with VMDO, is under contract to create architectural drawings for the $20 million building. The center, slated for completion by 2022, will house future science and technical labs, administrative offices, a café and student study space.
Piedmont’s board reviewed and approved schematic designs for the building at a special meeting Wednesday. The state Virginia Community College System has approved money for site work and construction.
The building will be 45,000 square feet, and range from two to three stories. It will sit along the campus’ main College Drive, directly across from the Main Building.
“This will really be a beating, thriving heart of the campus, we hope,” Kovach told the board as he described the drawings.
Students, faculty and staff will be able to walk over a short bridge and into the new building. One half of the building will be devoted to administrative and instructional space; the other half, on the other side of the open lobby, will be filled with event and activity space. The ground floor — which will contain classrooms, a cyber lab and an event space — will open out to a 106-spot parking lot.
The second floor of the building will hold administrative offices and will relocate the Main Building’s café, according to the plans. The third floor, situated on one half of the building, will also contain meeting and office spaces for student clubs and organizations.
Along with a possible closure of College Drive to vehicles, planners hope the street-level entrance eventually can be developed into a more pedestrian-friendly, outside space that connects with the Main Building’s courtyard.
“That courtyard is one of the few existing outdoor spaces on campus, and we’d really like to allow students more spaces to live and work outside,” Kovach said.
The schematic also allows for the future development of a perimeter connector road that will swing along the outside of the technical center’s parking lot and loop to the Keats Science Building and V. Earl Dickinson Building.
The Albemarle County and state architectural review boards still must review the proposed design. Preliminary design approvals are expected by the spring of 2020, with construction projected to begin in November 2020 and finish in 2022.