HENRICO Co., Va. (WWBT) – Drilling drywall and learning to wire electrical wires are part of Henrico County Public Schools’ plan to give the Regency Square Mall a new purpose.
The school division is renovating a wing of the mall into classrooms for students enrolled in their adult education program.
Hundreds of students enrolled in this program will transfer to this location once the renovations are complete.
“Our adult education has always been about students wanting to get their GED or students who need English as a second language, but it’s also about helping those adults find that career path. What happens after graduation? said Workforce and Career Development Manager Mac Beaton.
The aim is to create a comfortable learning environment for older students while increasing foot traffic, where many stores are now vacant. What is unique about this project is that the students are behind its transformation.
“Instead of walking past and saying, ‘I went to school there.’ They can say, “I helped build this space,” Beaton said.
“Students here learn everything from demolition skills to electrical to framing with steel studs, they’ll learn drywall, they’ll learn ceiling grids, flooring, pretty much everything in the construction industry they will have the opportunity to be exposed to,” Beaton said.
“I want to get into interior design and architecture,” said twelfth grader Skye Allan. Allan is in his second year of the carpentry program.
She says this hands-on experience is much better than reading a textbook.
“I like the fact that we are taking full advantage of the experience. We work with different professions. This is my first time working on a construction site. We’re not really offered that in class,” Allan said.
Beaton says students who participate will earn class credit.
“It’s interesting because they don’t see it as a school; they see it as work, which makes it more powerful,” Beaton said.
Beaton says the project should be finished by next January.
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