SVHEC ChangeX Better Block Chess Park Downtown South Boston VirginiaThe Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) is an innovative destination for workforce development and educational degree programs. It is home to the Career Tech Academy, which is part of GO TEC. 

If you drive into South Boston, Virginia from the south, going north on Highway 501, you’ll cross the Dan River, then look up to the left to see the impressive Southern Virginia Higher Education Center campus emerge. The SVHEC occupies three large, former tobacco warehouses. It is in the South Boston Historic Tobacco Warehouse District, which includes 15 buildings spanning 20 acres adjacent to the downtown commercial district. SVHEC is located within walking distance of many downtown businesses including Southern Plenty Cafe, Main Street Bar & Grille, Factory Street Brewing, and more. 

One of the newest additions to the SVHEC campus is a Better Block Parklet. The Better Block Parklet was funded through a grant from the 2022 ChangeX Southern Virginia Community Challenge. Students in the SVHEC’s Career Tech Academy were involved in the design and fabrication of the parklet, using 3D printers and other technology at ProductWorks

The SVHEC’s Better Block parklet expands outdoor space for both students and the community. It created a new seating area with outdoor chess games to encourage people to gather together. It includes digitally fabricated outdoor furniture and a brightly colored parking lot mural.

We recently visited with Dr. Betty Adams to learn about SVHEC and the Better Block parklet.

About the SVHEC Campus in South Boston, VA

The SVHEC’s main campus can be found at 820 Bruce Street. It includes the 820 Bruce Street building and the Innovation Center. The Prizery, the premier performing arts center in Southside Virginia, is located between the 820 Bruce Street building and the Innovation Center. ProductWorks, a division of SVHEC dedicated to product development, is located just 0.3 miles down the street at 700 Watkins Avenue. 

As you turn into the parking lot that serves SVHEC’s main campus and The Prizery, you’ll notice large art sculptures. The 820 Bruce Street building is adorned with banners of SVHEC’s college partners, which include Longwood University, Old Dominion University, Danville Community College, and Southside Virginia Community College. Depending on the day, the GO TEC mobile Training Lab might be parked outside. 

As you enter the 820 Bruce Street building or the Innovation Center, you’ll find modern, brightly-lit spaces for gathering and learning. You’ll be greeted by friendly, professional staff from SVHEC and you’ll notice the place is a hub for SVHEC’s college and institutional partners.

Most importantly, you’ll catch the optimistic energy of students ranging from 11th and 12th-grade high schoolers to adults of all ages. The students’ fields of study will be as diverse as their backgrounds. SVHEC excels at delivering job training programs tied to specific career opportunities. Job training programs include Automation Technician, Information Technology (IT), Heating and Air Conditioning (HVAC), Nursing, Teaching, and Welding. SVHEC also works with employers to develop and implement customized training for current and potential employees.  

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