Danville High School debuts new precision machining program

Program at GW has been years in the making, cost over $1 million to establish

DANVILLE, Va. – With the start of school Wednesday will come the start of a precision machining program at George Washington High School in Danville.

The program has been years in the making and cost more than $1 million to set up.

When George Washington High School juniors and seniors use the new, high-tech precision machining equipment, they'll be learning the same things they would be learning at Danville Community College.

That's the way Porchia Russell, the high school's precision machining instructor, designed the program.

She graduated from DCC's program in 2015.

 "They're going to be learning the whole first year that they would get at Danville Community College. However, it's slowed down, conducive to a high school schedule," Russell explained.

Troy Simpson oversees DCC's precision machining program and expects GW's program to swell the number of people coming to DCC to get a degree in precision machining.

The community college's program is already attracting companies to Danville, but thanks to the growth that the high school's program will likely create, Danville could become even more of a hub for the precision machining industry.

"We're very aware of a new factory being built across the street from the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, so we'll have a need for graduates out of the program here at George Washington High School," Simpson explained. "Additional announcements will be coming in the next several months."

Danville superintendent, Dr. Stanley Jones, says the high school's program couldn't come soon enough.

"This is long overdue in my opinion," said Jones. "If you think about Danville's history, Danville is a community where manufacturing was the bread and butter of teh system. So we're embracing our past, but in a way that's appropriate for the future."

A ribbon-cutting is being planned for next month to celebrate the new program.

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