For Immediate Release:
February 1, 2017
Primary Media Contact:
Public Relations Specialist
The Laurel Ridge Educational Foundation is pleased to announce that Baker Development Partnership, LLC has donated 6.3 acres in the Luray Landing Development for the purposes of building a permanent home for the college’s Luray-Page County Center. The property is in a convenient location, behind the Wal-Mart shopping center in Luray.
Baker Development Partnership is made up of Russell Jenkins, and his son Rodney, the CEO and president, respectively, of Warrenton-based General Excavation Inc. The Jenkinses live in Page County.
“We think the college was a great thing for our county and our town,” Russell Jenkins says. “We need to keep it here.”
Rodney Jenkins says he and his father enjoy helping their community, and noted two General Excavation employees are currently enrolled in the commercial driver’s license course at Laurel Ridge’s Middletown campus.
“We’re always looking for trades, whether it’s welding, or pipe fitting, or anything of that nature, so we were just hoping to help the people in the community, which would actually help the contractors in the area as well,” he says.
“With the expense of four years at a traditional university prohibitive to so many, it’s great to have Laurel Ridge in Page County,” says Rodney Jenkins’s wife, Karen (Laurel Ridge ’88).
“We would like to see education in the community and trade school/vocational school continue because a lot of those jobs are exactly what we need down here at our work,” she says. “It’s hard to find people who have trade skills anymore.”
Laurel Ridge continues to lease space in a building on Hawksbill Street, which has provided an important educational resource for Page County since 2006.
Laurel Ridge’s current space, part of the former Wrangler plant, consists of three classrooms, a computer lab, and a student and faculty lounge. Old Dominion University uses one classroom for distance learning.
A new center will allow the college to better meet the needs of its students in Page County. Laurel Ridge envisions a 10,000-square-foot facility initially, with room to expand as future growth dictates. The initial building would include state-of-the-art classrooms, rooms for science labs and workforce training, open spaces for students, and multi-purpose space that can be used for community benefit.
According to Liv Heggoy, the Laurel Ridge Foundation’s executive director, construction cannot begin until $1 million has been raised for the building fund. The Foundation’s Board of Directors is developing a plan to raise the funds.
“We are confident that the community shares our vision and will financially support the project,” Heggoy says.
She adds, “It’s an innovative approach, because the non-profit Laurel Ridge Foundation will own the building and lease it to the college.”
Keeping Laurel Ridge in Luray/Page County – and expanding academic and trade offerings – is especially crucial since nearly 1 in 5 adults in the county lack a high school diploma.
At the same time, the Department of Labor determined that the vast majority of good jobs – those that come with insurance and benefits – since the recession call for a post-secondary degree or workforce credential. Two-thirds of the 1.5 million jobs opening up in Virginia in the next 10 years will require those qualifications.
“We’re so grateful for the generous gift,” Laurel Ridge President Dr. Cheryl Thompson-Stacy says. “With a new site and building, and room to grow, Laurel Ridge is looking forward to our continued partnership with the schools, citizens and businesses of Luray/Page County.”
She adds, “This donation will provide us the opportunity to put many more area residents on the pathway to a rewarding, sustainable career, or on the pathway to a bachelor’s degree by providing them an affordable and quality education that can transfer to a four-year university.”
Laurel Ridge has become a vital part of the Luray/Page County community, with 96 students graduating in 2016, 526 Page county residents taking at least one class or program in the 2015-2016 academic year, and 43 county residents working for Laurel Ridge.
Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.
Laurel Ridge Community College (Laurel Ridge) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College. Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.
Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.