A $34 million renovation and expansion is coming to John Tyler Community College’s Chester campus.
Construction is scheduled to begin in early June with a target completion date of August 2019.
Plans started in 2015, said Greg Dunaway, director of facilities and safety for the college.
The Nicholas Center will be renovated and expanded from 26,000 square feet to 50,500 square feet, while the Bird Hall classroom building will be renovated.
Holly Walker, the college’s public relations manager, said an emphasis on preparing students for high-tech jobs is driving the expansion. The focus is on health sciences along with manufacturing and informational technology.
At the completion of the project, the school’s nursing program – which has been housed at Johnston-Willis Hospital in Bon Air since 2006 – will be returning to the Chester campus.
The college’s nursing and Emergency Medical Services/paramedic programs will be able to use the same high-tech simulation equipment, Walker said. Those programs will be housed in the 37,000-square-foot Bird Hall.
The Nicholas Center will add a café, several classrooms and a larger bookstore, along with more meeting space and room for the college’s workforce development program.
Upgrades were designed by Grimm + Parker Architects of Charlottesville, while Donley’s Inc. of Richmond will be the main contractor.
Some $24 million will be used for the expansion and renovation, i.e. “bricks and mortar,” with the remaining $10 million going for architecture/engineering design, planning, moving and relocation, two temporary trailers, furniture, information technology assets, program equipment, inspection services and demolition.
The state Legislature authorized $32 million in funding with another $2 million coming from local funds, which include voluntary contributions from the 10 communities the college serves along with commissions from sales at the college bookstore and vending machines.
The trailers will house some classes and the college bookstore during construction.
A ground-breaking ceremony is planned for May 18.
The college – which offers associate degree programs – was founded in 1967 and serves some 14,000 students between its Chester and Midlothian campuses, along with about 6,000 people in its workforce development program.