New facilites, roads, renovations: Virginia Wesleyan College presents 10-year plan to Virginia Beach city council

Virginia Wesleyan College
A Virginia Wesleyan College sign at the corner of Wesleyan Drive and Baker Road. (Justin Belichis)

The 10-year master plan for Virginia Beach’s private residential local arts college calls for new buildings, graduate school programs, a roadway, a trail, entrances and more.

Virginia Wesleyan College President Scott D. Miller presented the campus’ grand vision to Virginia Beach city council at its meeting Tuesday. Miller said the school has 1,400 students, but his growth agenda anticipates 300 more in the next few years.

“We’ve been granted the approval to become a graduate-level institution,” Miller said. “In 2017, we’ll be rolling out a Master of Arts in education and an online Master of Business Administration.”

Miller said developing the comprehensive 10-year plan took nine months with the help of Aramark Engineering Solutions and liberal arts planning firm Derck & Edson.

The school’s ongoing construction project now is the 40,000-square-foot Greer Environmental Science Center. Miller said this building will be the centerpiece of Virginia Wesleyan College’s academic program on campus. Miller said the school’s relationships with the Virginia Aquarium and Brock Environmental Center allows the building to host its national niche program.

The building will also be the main point for the Batten Honors College, which begins next fall. It will start with 20 students with full tuition scholarships focusing on environmental science, leadership and global experience. Miller said the plan is to grow that number to 80 students after four years.

“Jane [Batten] is funding an honors college that will attract the best students from all over the country,” Miller said. “We currently have 30,000 names that are interested in 20 slots in the first group of Batten scholars.”

The building’s grand opening could happen as early as next August, according to Miller.

The list of new structures and things include:

  • Decorative fencing and an entryway on Wesleyan Drive
  • A gated entry point on Baker Road
  • A $14 million performing arts center with a 350-seat theater, an art and music hall and an academic wing
  • A commons area with a bigger dining facility
  • Parking and a bus drop-off point near the Greer Environmental Science Center
  • A YMCA joint-use facility for camps during summer and academic use during the school year. It will also have a 150-seat outdoor amphitheater and is scheduled to be complete by June 1.
  • A 12-foot-wide trail and lighting along Lake Taylor
  • New living facilities
  • Improvements to sports facilities and a new track
  • A loop road extension

VWC is also plans to develop a gated residential community on a piece of land it owns across Wesleyan Drive.

After the presentation, council member Barbara Henley mentioned that VWC has helped the city in more ways than education.

“I’d like to thank Virginia Wesleyan for all of the years of historical research you’ve done of Princess Anne County,” Henley said. “Having those archives there and allowing all of that is fantastic.”

The next project VWC plans to move forward with is construction of its YMCA joint-use building, which Miller said will begin Jan. 3.

“We’re proud that, with the exception of our maintenance building, our entire campus is a part of Virginia Beach,” Miller said. “We want to celebrate that more.”

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