Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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University of Virginia, Virginia Tech To Jointly Expand Into Newport News

The University of Virginia and Virginia Tech are jointly opening a new regional center in Newport News, near the entrance to City Center.

The University of Virginia Eastern Regional Center at Newport News, slated to open later this fall in the Wells Fargo building at 600 Thimble Shoals Blvd., represents a relocation within the Hampton Roads region for the University of Virginia, which recently closed its Virginia Beach center.

The Newport News center will make it easier for local students to enroll in the U.Va. School of Continuing and Professional Studies portfolio of certificate programs and courses in subjects such as finance, management and administration and information technology, said the school's dean, Billy Cannaday. U.Va. also plans to work with Hampton Roads employers to create customized courses and programs.

“Relocation to Newport News will enhance U.Va.’s ability to serve peninsula communities in new ways, and we are excited about the opportunity to create new partnerships in the area,” Cannaday said. “U.Va.’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies has a rich history of working with schools and organizations in the Virginia Beach area, and we plan to continue to develop those valuable relationships.”

The Newport News center is also the final piece of a U.Va. push to co-locate its regional centers with other schools, to reduce costs by sharing classroom and office space and to offer adults more convenient access to a wider variety of higher education offerings, Cannaday explained. U.Va.’s four other regional centers are each either part of a regional multi-institution higher education center (in Roanoke and Abingdon) or co-located with Virginia Tech (in Richmond and Falls Church).

“Given that U.Va. and Virginia Tech offer different programs, we prefer to leverage our strengths by working together rather than as competitors,” Cannaday said.

During the 2011-12 academic year, more than 9,000 people enrolled in U.Va. classes through the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. 

The Eastern Regional Center at Newport News will include several classrooms outfitted with videoconferencing equipment to link students to professors in other locales.  

The Newport News Economic Development Authority will spend almost $100,000 on building renovations to customize the 8,000-square-foot space for the universities on the second floor of the Wells Fargo building. In addition, the building’s owners are contributing almost twice that amount toward the renovation.

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