Collins continues facility upgrades
CHESAPEAKE — The hallways of Collins Career Center look more like they lead to construction zones than classrooms as dust covers the floors and lights hang from the ceilings.
However, classes continue as normal at the CCC as construction crews work to expand the school’s facilities. Jim Howard, CCC principal said the situation has been tough, but will be more than worth it in the end.
“Well the biggest challenge I’ve had is that we maintain the quality of education the students are here to get while construction is going on and keeping everything safe for the students and the construction workers,” Howard said. “What we’ve done is have a couple modulars out back and we have four classrooms there. We have taken the adult education that is normally here during they day and we have rented space at the old South Point High School and have sent them there.”
Howard said everything is a bit hectic at the moment, but the future he sees is one better for the school and the students.
“I envision a school here when kids come here they are going to learn in a lab and classroom that would mirror what you’ll see in business and industry — just as good if not better,” Howard said. “It’s state of the art equipment, the best money can buy for these kids to learn good skills to get a job. And that’s what we are all about here — getting these kids a job.”
CCC Superintendent Stephen Dodgion said the majority of the kids at the school do just that — get jobs. He said enrollment has gone up by around 150 students since he took his post and the approximately 500 students enrolled at CCC are getting a top-notch education.
Dodgion said he knows the school is doing right by the students because they are coming to class, learning and have not been affected by the construction.
“They are all in brand new schools at their home schools,” Dodgion said. “We have dark, dingy hallways right now due to construction — but it isn’t fazing them a bit. Our enrollment is staying right where it is.”
He also said while many factors were taken into consideration when expanding the school’s facilities, student body growth was not factored in. He said the number of students is expected to stay around 500 and his main focus was making the classrooms and workshops bigger to accommodate a more productive learning environment.
Joe Romanello, member of the construction management group, said the work is expected to be completed in December. The final phase is to start in June after the school year ends.