Submitted by Joe Schilling – Director of Communications
Reynolds Community College today announced that its 25,000-square-foot expansion into Richmond’s East End will be named “The Kitchens at Reynolds” and serve as a community gateway to a multitude of the college’s academic and workforce programs and services.
“The Kitchens at Reynolds speaks beyond traditional culinary education. It’s about the expertise and innovation to give individuals a foundation to explore their culinary potential,” said Paula Pando, Ed.D., president of Reynolds. “Community colleges are engines of economic mobility. Our goal at Reynolds is not only to provide a world-class culinary education in a state-of-the-art facility, but to also connect students with educational opportunities that impact their ability to have meaningful careers in the greater Richmond region.”
The centerpiece of the new facility at the corner of 25thand Nine Mile Road in Church Hill remains state-of-the-art teaching and demonstration kitchens that will enable Reynolds to double culinary enrollment capacity and a grow a talent pipeline critically needed in Richmond’s burgeoning food scene. The building will also house dedicated spaces for career planning, financial aid workshops, enrollment assistance, and access to short-term courses and workforce certification and credential programs offered by the Community College Workforce Alliance.
Reynolds partnered with students at the nationally-recognized VCU Brandcenter on a semester-long project to develop the name and brand for the new facility. “While there is an obvious connotation to culinary in the The Kitchens at Reynolds, part of the uniqueness comes from the fact that when you think about where a lot of those important conversations regarding the family budget, about dreams, about the future occur… it’s at the kitchen table,” Pando said. “We are grateful to all of the talented Brandcenter students who helped us down this path.”
“The Kitchens at Reynolds” is part of a larger revitalization initiative of the Nine Mile Road and 25th Street corridors that will also include “The Market at 25th” grocery store, a VCU health education and wellness center, and Bon Secours’ existing Sarah Garland Jones Center. The college joins non-profits in the youth development space and other entities already doing important work in the East End. To help more middle and high school students chart an associate degree or workforce credential pathway after graduation, the J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Educational Foundation is funding a Reynolds career coach at Armstrong High School, less than one mile from the site of the future “The Kitchens at Reynolds.”
“This is the power of collective impact,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, executive director of the Educational Foundation. “From dialogue with residents to investments from Richmond’s philanthropic community, so many people are coming together to make this happen.”
The building is expected to open for college programs and services in late 2019, with the first culinary classes offered in the spring 2020 semester.