Thursday, February 29, 2024

VPCC Theater to Begin Rebuilding Process with Groundbreaking Monday

(Virginia Peninsula Community College)

HAMPTON — The curtain fell on all productions at Virginia Peninsula Community College’s Templin Hall in April of 2021 when a portion of its roof collapsed.

The two-story building had been closed at the time of the roof collapse due to the pandemic, but for a decade, the theater at Templin Hall had been home to Virginia Peninsula Community College’s (VPCC) Performing Arts program.

Twice a year, it presented performances that showcased the talents of VPCC students, staging what the college called must-attend events for fans of live theater throughout the Peninsula.

On Monday, Dec. 11, at 10 a.m., VPCC will have a groundbreaking to celebrate the reconstruction of the Templin Hall auditorium on the Hampton Campus.

“This step is another example of the college’s rebuilding process,” said Dr. Towuanna Porter Brannon, VPCC president, who announced the project’s official start on Nov. 6 in a statement to faculty and staff. “We have spent much of the last three years focused on increasing capacity, restructuring, rightsizing, and refocusing on what works. As we continue to move forward, we see this construction project as a physical manifestation of our efforts.”

Brannon and college officials will welcome special guests representing Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS), local and state government, the cultural arts and business communities, and others for the ceremony at the construction site, according to VPCC. Members of the College and Educational Foundation boards will also be on hand.

Templin Hall, named for the College’s fourth president, is a 49,143-square-foot academic and performing arts building constructed in 2002. The auditorium was state-of-the-art when constructed. The new facility will seat 494 guests, and the college said its leadership has committed to “rebuilding a theater that leverages today’s technology.”

Steve Carpenter, VPCC’s vice president for Finance and Administration, said the $17 million project is funded by VCCS and construction is slated for completion in March 2025. The firm, RRMM Architects, designed the new auditorium, and the W.M. Jordan Company is building the facility.

After the roof collapse, the college was forced to disperse classrooms and offices throughout the campus and temporarily lease space. The theater’s rebuilding and reopening of Templin Hall will allow the Hampton Campus to regain 60 offices and eight classrooms, it said.

The name of the new theater has not been determined, said Dr. Brannon. Several factors will be considered, and stakeholder input will be collected before naming recommendations are provided to the Local College Board, which is responsible for approving the names of campus facilities, according to the college.

“Thanks to the work and partnership … we will bring back what was lost and make it better than before,” Dr. Brannon said, thanking VCCS officials and teams across the College, including Facilities, Finance & Administration, and numerous administrators, faculty, and staff.

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