This ceremony is the biggest celebration Virginia Western Community College has had in twenty years as the Fralin Center for Science and Health Professions is dedicated.
A major milestone not only for VWCC, but for the entire state. Governor Bob McDonell tells WSLS expansion of higher education programs is a huge economic driver.
"The more young people we can get to go through these colleges at a low tuition and get a good job the better our country and the better our state will be," McDonnell said.
Emphasizing the importance of higher education he spoke at the dedication about how the average college graduate makes double the amount of someone with only a highs school degree.
"They earn more, they contribute more and drain government services less," McDonnell said. "So it really is a very prudent investment."
President of the college Dr. Robert Sandall says getting those degrees is now cheaper than ever.
"We are trying to make scholarships available to students with the Fralin five million dollar gift and C-Cap which is our community college access program which provides other scholarships. Then we have scholarships in addition to that so we are trying to make it where money isn't an obstacle," Sandall said.
The college has 32 articulation agreements with UVA and Virginia Tech. UVA President Dr. Teresa Sullivan spoke along side Virginia Tech President Dr. Charles Steger who both say that hundreds of Virginia Western students transfer to these two universities each year.
Making five million dollars available to future students, Heywood Fralin says this program is vital to boosting the economy in the Roanoke Valley by bringing back these graduates to our local workforce.
"Technology based employers and research based employers are the future to locate here in the Roanoke Valley," Fralin said. "We absolutely have to have an educated workforce and it starts right here at Virginia Western."
We now know the name for Virginia Western Community College's newest building. The Horace G. and Ann H. Fralin Center for Science and Health Professions was dedicated Wednesday at an on-campus ceremony.
The facility is the first new building on campus in close to twenty years, and cost more than $26 million.
Speakers included Governor Bob McDonnell, Heywood Fralin, as well as the Presidents of Virginia Western, Virginia Tech, and the University of Virginia.
Virginia Western Community College will rename it's Center for Science and Health Professions today.
Many leaders from around the state are expected to attend the dedication ceremony.
The building is the first facility to be constructed on campus in over twenty years.
Each classroom is equipped with the latest technology.
The $26 million dollar project was designed to prepare students for the local workforce.
85% of Virginia Western students work in the Roanoke area after school.
Angela Falconetti, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, says the goal is to make students "strong contributors here in our valley".
Today's ceremony is not open to the public.
Beginning tomorrow, community members are welcome to tour the building and see the sign with the center's new name.
Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. for the Blue Ridge Music Festival.