By JESSICA WETZLER
Daily News-Record 3/2/19
WEYERS CAVE — The opening of a new bioscience building at Blue Ridge Community College remains on track for this fall.
With more than 41,000 square feet, the $20.8 million two- story structure will house the nursing program with labs, hospital room simulation areas and classrooms, according to Bridget Baylor, the director of public relations at BRCC.
“There will also be a biomanufacturing suite, including clean-room technology for food manufacturing and other industries, flex classroom spaces, faculty offices and conference rooms, and will house our new EMS program,” Baylor said.
BRCC President John Downey gave an update on the project to the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors during Wednesday’s meeting, saying he is anticipating the fall opening.
Downey said local employers are looking for biotechnicians and electronic technicians with a science background.
“We think that [this building] will help significantly with employers in the county as well,” Downey told the board.
The bioscience-oriented manufacturing lab is designed to emulate the rigid requirements of a biomanufacturing or a food-processing facility, including a vestibule and gowning room students will pass through before entering the cleanroom area.
Companies such as Merck & Co. and SRI Shenandoah Valley are working in the bioscience space, and more are sought for the area. New programs to train paramedics, histologists, and medical laboratory technicians are set to launch when the building opens, officials have said.
Construction for the building on the south-eastern part of campus began
April. Downey said in an email Thursday that bioscience is an emerging field, and he expects the new facility will help economic development in the region. “I think it’ll make the region more competitive in terms of companies thinking about relocating here in the bioscience and manufacturing,” Downey said. “Especially food manufacturing arenas, and also existing companies that are thinking of expanding.”
While construction is mostly finished, a number of things need to be done before classes start in the fall.
Baylor said they include landscaping, flooring, and sidewalks, curbs and paving.