‘This is your why’: New adult education center now open at Regency Square Mall

The new space, also known as Western Henrico Complex, will help adults start a new career track and where students can get a GED.
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 5:51 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) -Sonia Williams is one of many working to obtain her GED.

“I’m on my final exam,” Williams said.

Williams says returning to school was one of the best decisions she ever made.

“The instructors, the staff, they all keep you in a positive state of mind, letting you know that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to,” Williams said.

Students’ mentalities, like Williams, are driving the new adult education center in Henrico.

The new space, also known as Western Henrico Complex, will help adults start a new career track and where students can get a GED.

Students transferred to this new location from the Mount Vernon Complex on Carousel Lane in Richmond over the last month.

“It’s a one-stop shop for the community,” HCPS Director of Workforce and Career Development said.

Beaton says the overall project is 95% done.

Once complete, Beaton says the 49-thousand-square-foot space consists of 27 classrooms, a nursing lab and several storefronts, including Bon Secours, Henrico Federal Credit Union, Carter Myers Automotive and others.

Beaton says the goal is to create a comfortable learning environment for older students while boosting foot traffic where many stores once sat vacant.

“Everything in education should be about ‘What’s your why?’ This is about what’s your why. Why am I coming back to school? Because I want to promote and further my career opportunities, and this is constantly doing that,” Beaton said.

The center’s construction was also a learning opportunity for some Henrico high school students over the last year.

Students and collaborating contractors help renovate the project for class credit. Beaton says participating students are now getting job offers from collaborating contractors.

“You can read about it in a book, you can look at it on the internet, but what they learned, we would never be able to duplicate it in a classroom,” Beaton said.

Building the center will cost roughly $4 million, and the school division will pay approximately a fourth of that amount.

In addition to HCPS Department of Workforce and Career Development funding, the project benefited from donations, students helping with construction in the hands-on educational setting and in-kind donations of materials and time.

Beaton says the school division plans to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center on Aug. 1.