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Virginia Western, Roanoke Higher Education celebrate expanded culinary arts complex

ROANOKE, Va. – A newly expanded culinary arts complex is officially open in downtown Roanoke. 

Virginia Western Community College and the Roanoke Higher Education Center hosted a grand opening Wednesday for the Claude Moore Educational Complex. The expansion cost more than $6 million and created more than 8,000 square feet of state-of-the-art kitchen and academic space for the college's Al Pollard Culinary Arts Program.

After this morning's ceremony, members of the community were given tours of the kitchens and treated to food prepared by Virginia Western culinary students.

"When things happen, people prosper from that. What we're trying to do is invigorate this economy and get people in jobs," said Dr. Robert Sandel, president of VWCC.

Currently, more than 330 students takes classes in Virginia Western's culinary arts program, which offers a two-year associate's degree as well as industry certifications. 

During the event, the Al Pollard Memorial Foundation announced a $50,000 donation to support culinary students.