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New Career Building unveiled at SHS

Isle of Wight County Schools, Isle of Wight County and Smithfield Foods unveiled at new Career Building at Smithfield High School last week.

The Wednesday event showed off the newly renovated, 21,000-square-foot space that includes classrooms as well as resources for five career and technology programs, including manufacturing, engineering, welding, nursing and the culinary arts.

The building was made possible through the Smithfield Foods Legacy Project, a $3 million donation to Isle of Wight County Schools to fund innovative and multifaceted education programs, benefiting both Smithfield High School and Windsor High School.

“We are incredibly grateful for Smithfield’s gracious donation to bolster the career resource information we can now offer our high school students,” said Jim Thornton, superintendent of Isle of Wight County Schools. “We are confident this Career Building will be an effective tool to help us prepare our students for the future. Without the Smithfield Foods Legacy Project, this would not have been possible.”

The Career Building will enable students to better prepare for their lives after high school, whether pursuing higher education or entering directly into a professional career. The state-of-the-art facility includes designed industry spaces for the following programs:

Manufacturing: The state-of-the-art MakerSpace classroom provides students with spacious worktables and access to 3-D printers, vinyl and laser cutters, and traditional wood working tools as they take ideas from concept to prototype to finished product.

Engineering: The new Mechatronics laboratory offers space for students to engage in the engineering design process and project building.

Welding: The new welding classroom features 20 welding stations that utilize industry-standard equipment to certify students based on the American Welding Society Requirement in arc welding and cutting processes.

Culinary Arts: The space is outfitted with a commercialized kitchen with cutting-edge ovens, stove tops, mixers and food preparation area to provide a progressive culinary education and includes a fully functioning restaurant run by students that will be open to the community.

Nursing: This seven-bed area is outfitted with equipment to allow students to simulate patient care and prepare for the nurse aide certification exam.

“Founded more than 80 years ago in Smithfield, our company has grown but has always maintained its constant support and investment in our local community,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer for Smithfield Foods. “The Smithfield Foods Legacy project is one of the ways we are committed to helping students prepare for their future and make that next step after graduation a successful transition.”