Henderson County and Blue Ridge Community College Unveil $23.4M Patton Building

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After two years of renovation and construction, an expansive new learning facility has been unveiled at Blue Ridge Community College.

The $23.4M Patton Building project was funded by the Henderson County Board of Commissioners and features 78,739 square feet of new and renovated modern educational space. The facility’s carefully designed learning environments and technological features will engage and support the students of Blue Ridge Community College while positioning the institution as a strong economic development and industry recruitment partner for Henderson County.

The event featured remarks from Mr. John B. “Chip” Gould, Chairman of the Blue Ridge Community College Board of Trustees; Mr. John Mitchell, County Manager of Henderson County; Mr. William G. Lapsley, Chairman of the Henderson County Board of Commissioners; and Dr. Laura B. Leatherwood, President of Blue Ridge Community College.

“The Board of County Commissioners is pleased to continue the financial support of new and improved educational infrastructure to facilitate occupational opportunities for the citizens of Henderson County,” said Mr. Lapsley. “The completion of this upgrade and expansion of the Patton Building is another step forward in raising the skills and training level for the future employees of our growing manufacturing and business community. Thanks to all of the college leadership and staff here at Blue Ridge Community College for sharing your teaching talents and work experiences with our citizens. You can be assured that the taxpayers of Henderson County are proud of this institution and appreciate all that you have done for us over the past 50-plus years and will continue to do in the future.”

“As we work to transform lives through the power of learning, this state-of- the-art and newly constructed Patton Building will create opportunities for generations of Blue Ridge Community College graduates and their families, as well as provide support for industry employers across Western North Carolina,” said Dr. Leatherwood. “Our College and community are grateful for the forward thinking investment of our Henderson County Board of Commissioners that made this collaboration possible.”

Patton Building Highlights

Blue Ridge Community College’s Patton Building is a twenty-first century higher education and workforce development facility. It features spacious and attractive common areas providing comfortable spaces for students to study and collaborate. Fifteen multi-use classrooms are outfitted with wall-sized touchscreen smart boards called Walltalkers. State-of-the-art science classrooms integrate the equipment needed for chemistry, biology, and physics lessons.

The Student Success Center is prominently placed on the first floor for Blue Ridge students to receive academic support through peer and instructor tutoring, one-on-one and computerized instruction, and workshops.

Over 6,200 square feet of flexible industrial space called Flex Labs are specially designed to meet the training needs of new and existing manufacturing employers. The two adaptable labs are upfit with gas, water, air, and electrical connections. Large bay doors can accommodate tractor trailers during loading and unloading. Adjacent workforce development classrooms and offices are available to faculty and partner staff.

The 2,048 square foot Steven D. Wyatt Auditorium features a production-ready stage and seats 105 during community events, faculty lectures, and drama department productions. The space also features a green room, dressing room, restrooms, and a backstage area. Blue Ridge Community College trustees named the auditorium for County Manager Emeritus Steven D. Wyatt for his support of the College’s mission. Mr. Wyatt served with Henderson County from 2006 through 2021, and was involved in $91 million of the College’s capital construction projects.

The Patton Building project followed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design system to create a sustainable project that valued and respected the natural environment throughout every step of the building process, from planning to construction to management.