The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) is located in three repurposed, historic textile and tobacco warehouses in downtown South Boston, Virginia. Get directions
With state-of-the-art facilities, the three buildings comprising our campus are the 820 Bruce Street Building, the Innovation Center and the Research & Development Center for Advanced Manufacturing & Energy Efficiency at Imperial Lofts. The Prizery, Halifax County’s premier performing arts center, sits between the 820 Bruce Street Building and the Innovation Center.
Dating back to 1850, the 820 Bruce Street Building once was a tobacco processing warehouse owned by Export Leaf Tobacco. The building was donated to the SVHEC by local benefactors, and we began operating out of it in 2001. During the building’s renovation, many of its historic features were retained, allowing us to use modern necessities like high-speed computers, plasma screens and wireless hot spots while enjoying the charm of the original elevator’s framing and structure, fire doors that were once activated by ropes and 1850s bucket-and-fan humidifiers. The mix of old and new exemplifies the role southern Virginia and tobacco played in the early days of industrial development, and the progressive role the SVHEC plays in the future of the region’s economic revitalization.
The Innovation Center (the old American Tobacco Warehouse) dates back to 1890 and was referred to locally as the “Bag Factory.” The building was donated to the Southern Virginia Higher Education Foundation in December 2007, adding an additional 46,000 ft2 of space to the SVHEC campus. After another historic renovation, the former bag factory was transformed into the Innovation Center. It is home to some of the SVHEC job training programs.
In the spring of 2019, the Research & Development Center for Advanced Manufacturing & Energy Efficiency moved from the Innovation Center to the ground floor of Imperial Lofts, located 0.3 miles away. Imperial Lofts is a newly renovated, mixed-use commercial space constructed in the 1890s. The building originally was used as a tobacco processing facility, and later, for textile manufacturing.