A new building is changing uptown Martinsville's skyline.
"A 52 thousand square foot new academic facility. It will have a meeting space to accommodate up to 400 people," said former Virginia Senator and institute Director William Wampler, who gave WDBJ7 an exclusive look.
It's predicted to change the city's workforce just as much.
"We've thought this through. We think this is going to be a great venue,"
A green exterior and wood beams seeming to float high above the building are the frame works of New College Institute's newest addition dedicated to educational programs that manufacturing companies want.
"One of the signature pieces is an advanced manufacturing bay that is going to have the most modern, state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing equipment for students," Wampler said.
Wampler says that hands on experience means jobs. This classroom and other learning rooms are strategically placed near the future offices of the Martinsville Henry County Economic Development. Economic leaders can show prospective companies looking to build in the area, potential hires.
"You can see the Patriot Industrial Park from here," Wampler said pointing at a distant building from the third floor of the partially constructed building.
It has one of the best views of the city, on a block of land rich with history. The school plans a tribute to Dr. Dana Baldwin a man who broke barriers as a member of the city's black community.
"That's going to be for the history of the Baldwin block and the Martinsville Community," Wampler said. "We're the guardians of that as much as we are on the Baldwin block we are going to make it a big deal."
All that is down the hall from what's planned to be one of the largest spots for events in the city, proposed to hold up to 1,000 people inside and out. Next month brick from an old Bassett furniture factory will cover the now green walls.
The building is scheduled to open next spring.