Some Skilled Trades Programs Available at Hampton campus, PWDC

Each year, faculty and staff from Virginia Peninsula Community College gather for an event known as “All College Day.” This allows employees to meet in person before the official start of fall classes. This year’s event took place Aug. 16, and Todd Estes proudly reviewed the Workforce Development’s successes from the 2023 fiscal year.

There was the opening of a new trades center in Toano. Enrollment in FastForward programs increased 34 percent. Motorcycle classes resumed.

“We are investing heavily in the expansion of skill trades training,” said Estes, the vice president of Workforce Development and Innovation. “It was a focus in FY23 and … it will continue to be a focus in FY24.”

Estes said what he is looking forward to most in the new academic year is offering a number of skilled training classes at the Hampton Campus. Those classes had been held at the Goodwill Center in Hampton, but VPCC’s lease agreement ended in July.

Classes in electrical work, facilities maintenance, and HVAC will be moved to the Peninsula Workforce Development Center (PWDC) on Butler Farm Road and Hastings Hall on the VPCC Hampton Campus.

“We’re excited about being able to deliver that training on the main campus,” Estes said. “We do expect those programs to be relaunched this fall.”


Estes said a few spaces at PWDC need to be outfitted to accommodate facilities maintenance and electrical work. At Hastings Hall, he is working with the academic faculty to share lab space to accommodate HVAC.

The College had marine electrical mockups in Goodwill, but they weren’t being used. There is space for one marine electrical lab in Hastings and one in PWDC.

More space is on the way, too. The City of Newport News is donating land and providing support for site preparation on a 15,000-square foot trade facility in downtown Newport News. The address is 520 21st Street, just off Jefferson Avenue and a few blocks from the Newport News Early Childhood Center, which is a collaboration among VPCC, Newport News and the Mary Peake Early Childhood Center.

“We’re 18 to 24 months out from that,” Estes said.

The plan is to have trade programs for residents on the lower Peninsula available there as well as the Hampton Campus. Since it is new construction, Newport News Economic Development Authority is managing the project.

“That’s a real partnership,” Estes said.

For the VPCC Trades Center in the Toano area of James City County, Estes said they are finalizing details on adding masonry in the fall. Welding and carpentry are up and running. CNC machining is the fourth program slated for the site.

“We are still getting 3-phase power in that building,” Estes said. “Until we get 3-phase power, we can’t run the machines.”

By the end of the calendar year, all four programs should be available. Estes also said the College is hoping to bring on new programs in its Allied Health division and have more credentials for its IT offerings.

Templin Hall update

John Mason, the Facilities Services director, said the Templin Hall renovations are expected to begin in September. In addition to replacing the auditorium, the entire roof and HVAC system are being replaced.

“It’s a 14-month project from what we’re told,” he said. “We’re hoping to occupy in January 2025.”

He added the new theater will be similar to the Mary T. Christian Auditorium (capacity 470) but will be a little bit smaller.

New building update

There could be a groundbreaking ceremony in late fall 2024 for the building that is replacing Diggs, Moore and Harrison halls. Mason is expecting that project to take two years, including the demolition of the three halls set to be replaced. The new building will be three stories and 75,000 square feet.

“The (state) funding’s in place,” Mason said. “It’s very exciting.”

All staff have been moved out of Harrison, Diggs and Moore and into Hampton IV, except for campus security, which is still in Diggs. The classes that were held in Moore and Diggs halls have moved to the Hampton IV Building, which is at 521 Butler Farm Road.

Library, student enhancements:

Steve Carpenter, VP of Finance and Administration, said the College is in the initial stages of delivering more than $250,000 in renovations to the library on the Hampton Campus. Kady Fortier, Director of Library Services, said there are plans for more study rooms, larger spaces for tutors, new furniture, and an art gallery, which used to be housed in Templin Hall.

In addition, the College has up to $1 million to spend on one-time expenses for student learning environments. Examples of one-time expenses are classroom upgrades and improvements to student areas (paint, carpet, tables, chairs, etc.).