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PHCC to buy Arrington facilities
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Patrick Henry Community College has announced that it plans to buy the Arrington Manufacturing Inc. land and buildings to expand its motorsports facility. Arrington Manufacturing owns almost 13.5 acres and two buildings in the Patriot Centre industrial park, which is close to the college’s campus. One of the Arrington buildings is shown above. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Patrick Henry Community College is set to buy the Arrington Manufacturing Inc. land and buildings to expand its motorsports facility and house some other workforce development programs.

Arrington Manufacturing owns almost 13.5 acres and two buildings in the Patriot Centre Industrial Park in Henry County, which is close to the college’s 137 acre campus. The buildings are 51,000 and 53,000 square feet.

The PHCC motorsports program has been housed in the smaller building since 2005. The other building was the home of Arrington Manufacturing, which originally built high performance Dodge truck engines.

Arrington Performance, which builds hemispherical combustion chamber (HEMI) engines and custom performance parts for late model American muscle cars, classics and hot rods applications, now occupies that building.

Purchase price for the land and buildings is almost $5.5 million, most of which will be paid for by the state. Because state funds may be used only to build or purchase buildings and not land, the college will reimburse the state the $234,000 cost for the land.

That money was collected through contributions to the college from the localities it serves — the city of Martinsville and the counties of Henry and Patrick and the southern part of Franklin County.

“PHCC recognizes the importance of racing and its economic impact on our community. We have enjoyed meaningful partnerships with Arrington and other race entities, including Martinsville Speedway, through the years,” said PHCC President Dr. Angeline Godwin.

A new building for motorsports has been on the books at PHCC for several years. In 2008, the General Assembly approved an $8.7 million bond issue to build a motorsports technology center, however the college never was able to secure the additional estimated $1.5 million for site development.

This makes obtaining the Arrington property even more welcome, Godwin said.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to have a state-of-the-art facility in which to learn high-tech, hands-on skills in real time. We couldn’t ask for a better location for these programs,” she said.

Students in the motorsports program learn how to build a racecar from the ground up, including the chassis and engine. They also serve as pit crew members for the college’s late model car, which races at South Boston Speedway.

“They learn how to do everything but drive the car,” Godwin said.

Graduates have landed jobs with numerous race-related employers including NASCAR, Bobby Hamilton Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Dale Earnhardt Inc., Kevin Harvick Motorsports, Roush Racing, Smart Machines and others. A number of current students and motorsports graduates are employed by Arrington Performance, which will continue to lease space in the larger building under PHCC’s ownership.

Other programs which may be housed in the facility include electricity and electronics and the college’s newly established Mechatronics program, which will prepare students to set up, program and maintain robotic programs. There is a great demand for employees in this field, according to college officials.

Because of the progressive nature of the technology programs which will be located there, under PHCC’s ownership portions of the facility will be designated as the Center for Workforce Innovations, Godwin said.


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