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Patrick Henry Community College set to expand

Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:45:53 AM EST   Updated On: Aug 20 2013 07:12:23 PM EDT

Patrick Henry Community College is set to expand with the purchase of land and buildings currently owned by Arrington Manufacturing, Inc.

According to a news release, PHCC will expand its motorsports facility and house some other workforce development programs offered by the college in the new locations.

Arrington Manufacturing owns almost 13.5 acres and two buildings in the Patriot Centre Industrial Park on Route 174 in Henry County, which is close to the college's 137 acre campus. The buildings are 51,000 and 53,000 square feet.

The motorsports program at PHCC has been housed in the smaller building since 2005, while the other building housed Arrington Manufacturing, which originally built high performance Dodge truck engines. Arrington Performance, which builds hemispherical combustion chamber engine (HEMI engines) and custom performance parts for late model American muscle cars, classics, and hot rods applications, now occupies that building.

The cost for the land and buildings is near $5.5 million. Most of this purchase price will be paid for by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Since state funds can only be used to build or purchase buildings, not land, the college will reimburse the state the $234,000 cost for the land. These funds were collected through contributions made to the college from the City of Martinsville, counties of Henry and Patrick, and the southern portion of Franklin County.

According to a news release, a new building for motorsports has been on the books at PHCC for several years. In 2008, the General Assembly approved an $8.7 million bond issue to build a motorsports technology center, but the college could not secure the additional estimated $1.5 million for site development.

Student in the motorsports program learn how to build a racecar from the ground up, including the chassis and engine, and serve as pit crew for the college's late model car which currently races at South Boston Speedway.

Arrington Performance will continue to lease space in the larger building under PHCC's ownership.

Other programs which may be housed in the facility include electricity and electronics and the college's newly established Mechatronics program. This program will prepare students to set up, program and maintain robotic programs.

Under PHCC's ownership portions of the facility will be designated as the Center for Workforce Innovations.