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Hundreds take innovation tour in South Boston

The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center held a successful open house for its new Innovation Center Sunday, according to SVHEC Executive Director Dr. Betty H. Adams. 


More than 300 individuals attended the open house for a look at the 46,000 square foot facility housing the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center’s signature programs in Workforce Services, the Business of Art & Design and the R&D Center for Advanced Manufacturing & Energy Efficiency. 

The entire building was abuzz during the 12-stop interactive tours featuring demonstrations and giveaways. 

Tour highlights included a demonstration of the R&D Center’s Waterjet Machining Center, a laser engraver yielding wooden business cards and a faux photo booth featuring the digital photography studio. 

Aspiring singers or those just wanting to test the equipment had an opportunity to record a one-song CD in one of the audio bays used by Digital Art & Design students. 

For many like Zerita Newman, the Innovation Center Open House was the first time they had entered the building and gotten a first-hand look at the many opportunities available in Halifax County. 

“This was my first time at the Innovation Center, and I really enjoyed it. There were live demonstrations and a lot of things to see. It was a lot of fun,” Newman said.

Another open house attendee, Donna Elliott, was struck by the educational opportunities available. “We are so fortunate in Halifax County to have this facility. I think it’s just amazing that our local school children have all of these opportunities available to them.” 

Angel Conner, mother of a student in the high school dual enrollment WoodLINKS program, agreed. “My son is a student here, and I think this is such a wonderful, wonderful place. I love the fact that they’re expanding the things for the children to do and learn, and I think it’s a wonderful place to come to.”

Topping off a busy and fun afternoon were drawings for several door prizes. Dot Carr and Hollis Cannon were winners of the coveted iPad 3 and Kindle Touch tech prizes. 

Alex Reedy, Mike Harris, Rhonda Hunt and Rebecca Rodgers were winners during the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center Workforce Services drawing for a wooden toolbox donated by Virginia Technical Institute. Other door prizes included a Sheetz gas card and gift certificates to Southern Plenty, Bistro 1888 and the Apple Market. 

“It was an incredible day,” said Director Adams. “In spite of the rain, we estimate some 560 visitors took the self-guided tour showcasing Innovation Center programs and services. Perhaps most exciting were all the new faces from around the region we saw on this day. And we have already begun receiving student inquiries. One that stands out is from an individual with Clover ties who visited from Richmond where he currently attends community college. After taking Sunday’s tour, however, he now wants to transfer to the Product Design & Development Program offered by DCC at the Innovation Center. He returns this Friday to meet with Southern Virginia Higher Education Center staff to coordinate his transfer. It seems we are beginning to bring folks back home--it doesn’t get much better than this,” she continued.

Tommy Nelson, director of Development for the Halifax Educational Foundation, echoed Adams’ sentiments.

 “We were extremely proud to share the SVHEC’s Innovation Center, our staff and students with our neighbors in the community and region at Sunday’s Open House event. We were humbled by the tremendous turnout on a rainy afternoon and we thank everyone who attended,” he said.

The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center extended special thanks to Bistro 1888, Sheetz, Southern Plenty, the Apple Market, Virginia Technical Institute, GENEDGE Alliance and Pacific Headwear who all generously donated door prizes for the Innovation Center Open House. 

Winners of the SVHEC Workforce Services door prizes may call 434-572-5488 to schedule a time to pick up their prize, Adams said.

The Innovation Center Open House was hosted by the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center and the Halifax Educational Foundation. 


Winners of door prizes at Sunday’s open house at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center’s new Innovation Center include:

 iPad 3: Dot Carr of Cluster Ridge Trail, South Boston

 Kindle Touch: Hollis Cannon of Marshall Avenue, South Boston

 $25 Chamber Check: Linda Saunders of South Boston

 $25 Southern Plenty Restaurant: Caleb Martin of Dryburg Road, Scottsburg

 $25 Sheetz Card: Adrienne Vaughan of Terry Street, South Boston

 $10 Chamber Check: Jo Wimbish of South Boston and Nelly Vaughan of Horseshoe Trail, Alton

 $5 Apple Market Gift Card: Pat Crews of Prather Place, Woodbridge, Steven Noblin of Greenway Drive, South Boston, Belinda M. Crews of Danville,

James Vaughan of Old Cluster Springs Road, South Boston and Malinda Garrison of Indian Trail Road, Buffalo Junction

 Bistro 1888 dessert and coffee: Estelle Burton of Watlington Drive, South Boston, Richard Pool of Halifax and Frank Lee of Robinson Court, South Boston

 Bistro 1888 free appetizer: Nancy Chipps of Maplewood Drive, South Boston and George Briley of Wilson Road, Virgilina


Southern Virginia Higher Education Center Workforce Services drawing winners include:

 Wooden Toolbox and Pocket Screwdriver: Alex Reedy, Robecca Rodgers, Rhonda Hunt, Mike Harris

 VPMEP Portable Folding Chair with Logo: Tom Atkins, Zerita Newman

 Pocket Screwdriver: Kaye Tuck, Melissa Throckmorton, Mattie Cowan, Brook Clay, Kenneth Mulawee,

 GENEDGE Cap: Jacob Roe, Diane McMahon

 GENEDGE Visor: Barbara Francis, Margaret Nelson,

 VPMEP Pen/Letter Opener Set: Betsye Throckmorton

 Jump Drive: Nancy Chipps, Thomas Martin, Karisma Darden, Brook Matthew

 Black Pen Polo Shirt: Peggy Talbott, Kevin Everett

 Blue Denim Button Down Shirt: Fred Clark, Charles Harris

 lue Ladies Shirt: Martha Epps, Carolyn Coleman, Karen Fruend

 Set of GenEdge Alliance Coffee Mugs: Carl Duffey, Pam Paynter, Suzan Allen

 For more information about the Innovation Center or the programs available visit, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or call 434-572-5446 and toll free 1-800-283-0098 ext 5446.