Feb. 26—BLUEFIELD, Va. — Visitors might think that the electrical systems, motors and electronic equipment around the classroom are exhibits, but they are actually work stations for hands-on lessons at a new college center.
Southwest Virginia Community College's new Bluefield Center was opened Thursday at the Twin City Shopping Center off South College Drive to give the public a look at what the new facility is offering.
The center was created when students in the Bluefield, Va. area told SWCC officials that commuting to and from the college's campus near Claypool Hill, Va. was time consuming, according to Dr. Robert Brandon, vice president of academic affairs. Some students said that the commuting alone could consume about two hours a day, taking that time away from their families, he said.
Bluefield, Va. is one of the larger population centers in the college's service area, Brandon said. And besides serving students from Southwest Virginia, West Virginia students from counties including Mercer, McDowell, Summers, Monroe and Greenbrier can attend classes at the center for in-state tuition rates.
Learning stations around the classroom allow students to get the same hands-on experience they would get on the job, according to Joe Godsey, assistant professor of electronics. They can learn electrical wiring, diagnosing problems in electrical equipment and other skills.
Brandon said the Bluefield Center will be able to serve over 100 students, and it will have room for expansion.
Currently, classes will have about 10 students, and the center could have two classes at a time in different parts of the facility. Precautions against COVID-19 will be observed.
The college will begin offering in-person classes on March 8. The first classes to be offered for the upcoming term include Air Conditioning and Refrigeration I (AIR-121) and Basic Electricity and Machinery (ELE-120). Brandon said that people can still enroll in these classes.
People interested in the classes can contact the college at 276-964-7300 or visit sw.edu/bluefield.
— Contact Greg Jordan at email@example.com