NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A former Christian School will soon be home to airplane hangers in order to train future aviation technicians.
“This campus will be the premier campus for aviation training throughout the entire country,” said Dr. Joel English, the Vice President of the Aviation Institute of Maintenance, as he stood on the grounds of the institutions recent property grab.
The Virginia Beach-based trade school, recently purchased the former Calvary Christian School complex off East Little Creek Road in Norfolk in order to expand it’s operations.
The more than 100,000 square foot former elementary and middle school was built in 1992. Recently assessed for $7.7 million, the institute paid $5 million for property, and included an additional $1 million in scholarships to members Calvary Christian Church, the former owners, for tuition at either the Aviation Maintenance campus or Centura College Campuses.
In total, there are 20 for-profit college campuses, owned by Pungo businessman Jerry Yagen.
“We’ve done a lot of buildings and a lot of build outs, but this will be the most significant one here in Hampton Roads,” English said.
Inside the school, things were left as they were the day the Calvary School closed down. Clocks continue to tick, lesson plans are written on dry erase boards and the library is stock full of books.
Before the aviation institute can move in to build the planned state of the art aircraft hangar, engine room and power plant hangars, English said they will be clearing out what is left behind.
“We are donating about 300 chairs and nearly 100 tables and other furnishings to the city of Norfolk in early January,” English said. “This will help provide resources to the city’s youth programming.”
English along with Campus Director Bruch Jones hope to begin moving in to the space by mid-summer.
“We are working to train aviation technicians not only for work in Norfolk and Virginia, but for the country as a whole,” Jones said. “70-percent of the technicians that work in the industry, in aviation today, are over 50 years old, baby boomers. They are all retiring. There is literally going to critical shortage. There is a shortage now, but in a few years a critical shortage.”
Jones said there are also discussions with other trades moving into the space.
“We hope to have this open for community events as well,” English said of the gymnasium. “We will be refurbishing the basketball court and gym to allow not only our own students to play intramural athletics, but also so that sports teams of all ages in the community can use our gym for practices and sports events.”
The Aviation Institute of Maintenance’s current facilities on Military Highway will be sold following the move of the school.