PHCC Labs to Undergo Renovation & Relocation


This project is necessary due to problems with the ventilation system on the second floor, according to Steve Branch, dean of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). He said there is no exchange of air and fumes hoods “were inoperable altogether on the second floor. That’s what really got us to start looking at problems, and also assessing the two labs, we discovered that all the plumbing and gas lines were corroded. What turned out to be a simple project suddenly turned into something big.”

The college’s engineering firm initially estimated the cost of the project at approximately $325,000, which was to be funded primarily from a $305,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission and the balance paid from PHCC’s operations and maintenance funds.

When bids went out on April 16, the lowest bid was $418,000, coming in nearly $93,000 more than previous estimates. Combined with the $158,000 cost of casework, which are the benches, chairs and cabinets in the lab, the total cost of the project is approximately $576,000. Because the cost will exceed $500,000, PHCC is required to get approval from the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) Board of Directors and the College Board of Directors.

Branch said both biology labs will relocate to the third floor. He said the project is slated to start this summer with major construction in July.

“We designed this so we wouldn’t disrupt any classes during the spring semester, and we’re hoping the contractor will get started within the next few weeks,” he said. “There will be some demolition going on during the summer while the new labs are being constructed. The rooms have already been assigned for fall semester, so we really want this project to happen in a timely manner.”

The funding sources are expected to be the same, according to Jack Hanbury, vice president of financial and administrative services. No local funds will be used.

The college board approved the project with a unanimous vote. The VCCS Board of Directors is expected to meet on May 17 to consider the project.

PHCC’s College Board also approved the use of the Anne Bassett Stanley Chatham residence by the PHCC Real Estate Foundation. The nearly $1 million gift in real estate was announced earlier this month by the PHCC Foundation.

Because the home will be used as a presidential residence for Dr. Angeline Godwin, in addition to its use for college events and programming, approval is required from the VCCS Board of Directors and PHCC College Board.

Christopher Parker, vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the PHCC Foundation, said the home will always be the property of the PHCC Real Estate Foundation with financial obligation to the PHCC Foundation.

“The cost is around $700 to $800 monthly for the living space, which is still under the $25,000 yearly amount that the VCCS allows,” he said. “All community colleges can offer anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 per year for a presidential housing allowance. Most of them do offer it, and it’s highly encouraged by the chancellor.”

Godwin said she and her husband Jim Hatten are in agreement with the living arrangement.

“One request is that we have private living quarters within the house,” she said. “And we will also cover all cable, internet and housekeeping for the entire home. We’ve hosted 423 people at our (current) home on Mulberry (Road) and raised $200,000 tied to entertaining in that home. We think it’s worth it.”

Approval for the presidential home passed the PHCC College Board unanimously. The next regularly scheduled meeting is on June 16.