Monday, October 31, 2016

The passing of the barns

Gone but not forgotten (photo from Patteson Avenue site)

An October 26 community meeting to discuss a pending West Creek land use change revealed why the barns, silo, and other buildings on the site of the former Oak Hill golf course, were recently removed.

Michael and Thomas Pruitt, whose family company owns the 3,500-acre West Creek business park, explained that the structures experienced vandalism despite fences and no trespassing notices. “We tried to give the barns and silo to anyone who wanted to move them, but got no takers. It was a safety issue,” Michael said.

For many people, these barns, on the edge of the northbound ramp to Rt. 288 from Rt. 6, were the quintessential embodiment of Goochland’s rural nature, their demise one more reminder that things are changing. Some folks forget, or never realized, that Goochland is not a theme park, barns, fields, forests and ponds are not put there for the visual enjoyment of passersby.

The community meeting, a mandated step in the process to change land use, provided a forum for discussion of a rezoning application for approximately 7.53 acres on the north side of Rt.6 just east of Rt. 288. The property is part of the now defunct the Oak Hill golf course, which closed about 20 years ago to make way for a Motorola computer chip manufacturing plant that never materialized.

Thomas Pruitt explained that adding the land to West Creek, and rezoning it from A-2 agricultural to the M-1 category that covers the rest of the park, will enable construction of a de facto mixed use enclave. The zoning application also asks that proffers mandating a 1,000-foot setback from Rt. 6 for retail uses be deleted and buffer requirements be amended.

The neighbors were not amused. They contended that when West Creek was created in 1989 they were told that its tenants would be corporate headquarters and light industrial uses, but not fronting on Rt. 6.

Thomas explained that West Creek has evolved over time. Light industrial “is not going to happen” there. Current occupants of West Creek, including Capital One, have expressed interest in having services, such as a grocery store and restaurants, closer to them.

Michael explained that West Creek has approximately one million square feet of interior retail space, but no retailer would locate there. Visibility on a main road is key to attracting upscale tenants. “If you tuck it (retail)in the woods it’s not going to happen.”

A conceptual plan of the project included a major tenant, possibly a grocery store, of about 50 thousand square feet, considerably larger than the Centerville Food Lion. An additional 20 thousand feet of retail space and five restaurant pad sites facing Rt. 6 would be at the “front” of the project. The residential component, expected to be upscale rental apartments, are separate and behind the commercial portion, which could include office space. Easy access by foot among the different parts, “walkability,” will be a feature of the enclave.

Neighbors asked why enterprises would want to locate on the subject property given the numerous vacancies in an existing strip shopping center a few miles east in Henrico. Thomas said that the proposed retail space will be high end and different from existing Rt. 6 retail space. “This is our front door. We want to do to right.” West Creek has stringent design and landscape requirements for the entire park.

The Pruitts conceded that the proposal will increase traffic on Rt. 6 and require a traffic signal at the entrance, roughly opposite Pagebrook Drive, which was mangled by the advent or Rt. 288. Signalization is controlled by VDOT—the state agency whose motto is “Oops! —through its convoluted warrant process. Existing shoulders and the Rt. 6 median fronting the property are extra wide and should accommodate any needed turn lanes. Road improvements, part of the development process, will be dictated by VDOT.

The traffic signal at Blair Road has helped traffic backups in the area, but, as one neighbor put it, is “no magic bullet.” Access to the interior of the project will be via a road behind what is now an iron gate that will eventually connect to West Creek Parkway.

Principal Planner Tom Coleman of the Goochland County staff, said that commercial development south of Rt. 6 is unlikely due to difficulties with extending public water and sewer. Current uses on the south side of Rt.6: low density residential, cemetery, and Collegiate School fields will prevail.

Thomas Pruitt estimated that it would be years before any construction occurs. The rezoning is just the first step. Obtaining approval of a plan of development and storm water management measures as well as finding appropriate tenets for the commercial and office space would precede construction.

In response to questions about the general area, Coleman said that Collegiate has built out its property on Blair Road; any major new construction there must go through the complete land use change process, which provides ample opportunity for citizen input.

Goochland Civil and Environmental Engineer Debbie Byrd said that the property near the corner of River and Blair Roads has been timbered and will be replanted with trees. It is not being cleared for development. We also forget that trees can be a crop with a decades long growing season. No one complains when the corn is gathered in, but when acreage is timbered, people scream about the ruination of “their” viewshed.

Coleman explained that the next step in rezoning the subject property will be a public hearing before the Goochland Planning Commission at its December meeting and a second public hearing before the supervisors as early as next January. The supervisors make the final decision. Check the calendar on the county website for updates and details.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Up the food chain

Localities like Goochland County are at the bottom of the governmental food chain. Elected representatives in Washington and Richmond tend to pass laws that sound good in theory, but have unintended consequences in the real world. All too often, decrees from on high come with no funding, forcing local governments to divert money from other areas to pay for them.

Pushing back against Congress is a waste of time, but Goochland County’s local officials are not shy about letting our state legislators know when pending or possible bills will have a negative impact here.

Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, which means that localities have only those powers expressly granted to them by the state legislature, so maintaining a good working relationship with our General Assembly delegation is important. One of the first things the current supervisors did after taking office in 2012 was to end Goochland’s participation in the Virginia Organization of Counties (VaCO), which, lobbies the legislature on behalf of counties. Goochland, they contended, has always kept close touch with its state legislators, so there is no need for a middleman.

Each summer our elected officials sit down with state legislators to discuss matters of importance that could be addressed in pending legislation.

In early fall, the supervisors and school board fine tune and prioritize issues into a legislative agenda. At its October 4 meeting, the Board of Supervisors discussed the proposed legislative agenda for the 2017 session. As the General Assembly Session is short and the number of bills presented staggering, the county and schools prioritize issues of greatest concern but include policy positons on a wider range of matters.

This year, the county has put a priority on increasing regulation on the transportation of biosolids and sludge. After at least two sludge truck wrecks last year that closed roads, the supervisors have asked that vehicles transporting sludge from storage facilities to application sites carry adequate liability insurance coverage. Regulation of the time of sludge transportation—currently, large sludge trucks may transport the substance from wastewater treatment plants to storage facilities at any time, including the middle of the night. Localities have no power to reject land application of sludge.

A related priority issue is the completion of a multi-year study by JLARC of the cumulative effects of land application of biosolids and industrial sludge, which was passed in the 2016 GA session. Restrictions on limited residential lodging, like Airbnb and broadband expansion top the county list.

The schools once again ask that the state allow school divisions to determine the best start date for their community, rather than require a waiver to being the school year before Labor Day.

Recognizing a need for more local control to pursue excellence in education, the schools also request revised verified credit requirements for graduation to complement further reduction in mandatory SOLs at the high school level; oppose legislation requiring redistribution of local dollars when establishing statewide virtual schools; and oppose any bill requiring “maintenance of effort,” which our school leaders believe discourages efficiency.

Policy positions supported by the county include:

Elimination or restructuring of the state’s Certificate of Public Need (COPN) program, which determines where medical facilities can be built. The supervisors believe that health care dollars are better spend on actual care than legal fees.

Clarification of legislation passed last year to “defang” local proffer policies. The law as written is vague at best.

Requiring legislation with local fiscal impact to be presented on the first day of a General Assembly session; prohibition of any new legislation with unfunded mandates and imposition of a “sunset clause” on existing unfunded mandates.

Any legislation that enhances the Commonwealth as a good place to do business.

Granting counties the same taxation powers as cities and towns.

Regional transportation priorities especially:
intersection improvements at Rt. 288 and West Broad Street Road; traffic signal at eastbound I64 and Ashland Road; traffic signal at West Creek Parkway and Rt. 6; and (drumroll) the Tuckahoe Creek Parkway Bridge to connect Ridgefield Parkway and Rt. 288.
For the complete list, see pages 80-89 of the October 4 board packet.

The Virginia General Assembly meets for only a short time each year and there is a limit to the number of bills the can be acted upon. Goochland is represented by Delegates Lee Ware and Peter Farrell and Senator Tom Garrett, who is running for Congress. Should Garrett go to Washington, a special election will be called to elect his replacement. District 5 Supervisor Ken Peterson is vying for the republican nomination to replace Garrett, which would result in a vacancy on the Goochland Board of Supervisors. Stay tuned to see how this all plays out.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Going local

Going local

Districts 4 and 5 kicked off the current round of Goochland County town hall meetings on October 12 at the Hermitage Country Club. These sessions provide an opportunity for citizens to engage with elected and appointed officials in a casual environment.
Two additional meetings are scheduled: District 2 and 3 on Tuesday, October 18 at the Goochland Library; and District 1 at Byrd Elementary School. All begin at 7 p.m. The core presentation is similar, there will be ample time for questions and discussion of district specific concerns.

Board of Supervisors’ chair Bob Minnick, who represents District 4 served as emcee. The gathering was well attended. A brief summary of the meeting follows:

Sample ballots for the November 8 election were provided by County Registrar Frances Ragland. In addition to candidates, Virginias will vote on proposed amendments to the state constitution. One amendment deals with right to work, the other gives localities the option of exempting spouses of law enforcement officers and other emergency responders killed in the line of duty from real estate taxes. Visit for more information.

Perhaps the most important duty of the supervisors and school board is selection of a chief executive officer—county administrator and superintendent of schools respectively—to ensure that their policies are carried out for the benefit of the citizens. In the past six months, both positions were filled with men well-qualified in temperament and background to continue and expand upon the good work of their predecessors.

Minnick introduced new county administrator John Budesky who said he was honored to serve the citizens of Goochland and pledged to work with everyone to “make a better Goochland.” On the job since August 1, Budesky has been busy learning his way around and meeting people.

John Wright, District 5 school board member, introduced superintendent of schools Dr. Jeremy Raley, who has been on the job since the end of June. Raley gave a brief overview of county schools, their mission and goals. He proudly touted the excellence that has become the norm here and explained that the school division is committed to helping every learner maximize their potential.

The career and technical education program provides an opportunity for students to graduate with marketable skills. (Visit to learn about all of the great things happening right here in Goochland.) Raley declared that it is the school division’s job to ensure that every learner is better off at the end of each school year than on the first day.

Minnick said that economic development is moving right along. The announcementlast week that Sheltering Arms and VCU intend to build a 114 bed rehabilitation hospital in West Creek is the latest addition to new construction in the east end of the county. Others on the horizon include Audi of Richmond; Hardywood Park Craft Brewery; and the Bristol, an apartment community near Rt. 288.

The planned animal shelter; emergency operations center; and Hadensville Company 6 fire-rescue station, which are under construction were discussed. In the not too distant future, the county plans to build a new elementary school, a fire-rescue station on land proffered in West Creek, and at a later date, a new courthouse. Ken Peterson, District 5, explained that the county is playing catch-up with facilities whose construction was postponed due to the economic downturn.

The budget process for fiscal 2018, which begins on July 1, 2017, will soon get underway. This includes an update of the county’s five-year capital improvement plan, which prioritizes large expenditures, and funding mechanisms.

For the first time since 1997, property owners who participate in the land use taxation program will be required to recertify their eligibility. County records are badly out of date and this was determined to be the best way to get current information. About 51 percent of the land in the county is in the program, which taxes land by the acre, rather than its assessed valuation.

This tax break is intended to support agricultural, horticultural, or forestal use and discourage residential development. District 2 supervisor Manuel Alvarez, Jr. estimated that the county foregoes approximately $3 million in revenue from property in land use. A workshop will be held in the county administration building on October 20 to explain the recertification process in detail.

The ad valorem tax, currently 32 cents per $100 of valuation in addition to the 53 cent real property tax to fund debt service on the Tuckahoe Creek Service District, is of great interest to folks in the east end. Ken Peterson, District 5, explained that, to keep the ad valorem tax steady, the county needs to add about $100 million new value to the TCSD annually and must “run hard to stand still.”

Projects to improve performance and mitigate issues with water are almost complete, said Minnick. These include a chlorinator, a mixer to prevent contents of the Centerville water tower getting stale, and removal of a tank.

During question time, Linda Moore, who lives where Goochland, Hanover and Louisa come together, contended that she lives in a “911 desert” and suggested that new fire-rescue stations be accessible to more remote parts of the area.

Minnick said that the supervisors have looked hard at staffing the Sheriff’s Office and fire-rescue for a number of years.

Peterson explained that the county has three 24/7/365 paid fire-rescue crews on duty, deployed in the east, west, and central parts of the county. These paid responders are supplemented, when possible, by volunteer providers. Mutual aid agreements with neighboring counties are in place to lend a hand. The supervisors fund additional paid providers each fiscal year and expect to double the number in seven years. Goochland has an amazing corps of fire-rescue volunteers who commit many hours of their free time to train and run calls that save lives and protect property in the county. For a variety of reasons, their numbers are declining as demand for service rises.

(Food for thought. Goochland ambulances transport patients to Richmond, Charlottesville, and points in between. It can take several hours between the time an EMS crew is dispatched to a call and is back in service. When things get busy—a more frequent occurrence as the county grows—a condition known as NUA (no units available) exists. If available, volunteers pitch in to respond to calls until a “duty crew” returns to the county, but there are no guarantees this will happen.)

Criteria for siting new fire-rescue stations, said Peterson will include population density. The location of existing fire-rescue stations, some of which were built more than 50 years ago, are now in the wrong place relative to where people live.

Peterson said there are no traffic studies underway that could result in a traffic signal at River Road and Route 6. A signal is planned at Route 6 and Hope Church. Minnick said that the county is working with VDOT to improve safety at the northbound Rt. 288/Broad Street Road interchange by adding additional exit land and installing a traffic signal. Plans are also in the works to extend Fairgrounds Road to Route 6.

The county does not build or maintain any roads, that is VDOT’s responsibility. The county engages in very cumbersome process to prioritize funds allocated for road construction and maintenance in the county.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Highlights of the October 4 Goochland Supervisors’ meeting

In case you haven’t heard, Goochland County received two awards for excellence in its use of technology to keep citizens informed and engaged in local government. Goochland received the Digital Counties Survey Award from the Center for Digital Government for counties with populations up to 150,000. and the Governor’s Technology Award for best citizen portal.
Goochland Director of Information Technology Qiana Foote and the award.

The current board of supervisors believes that transparent government is an essential part of good government. To that end, all kinds of information is available at the county website From the check registers and credit card statements for both county government and school division to the annual budget, certified annual financial report, citizens can see for themselves how our local government operates.

The awards are the product of the hard work of everyone in county government led by the Information Technology Department under the leadership of its director Qiana Foote. A county Facebook page went live recently as did a Twitter account to help our county better connect with citizens. These social media sites will be especially useful in times of emergency to disseminate important information.

A rabies clinic will be held On Sunday, October 16 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the corner of Sandy Hook and Fairgrounds Road. The cost is $10 per dog or cat.

“How we treat our pets is a reflection of us as a community,” Board Chair Bob Minnick, District 4 allegedly observed. His words describe a group of dedicated volunteers who plan to make that notion reality. A new animal shelter is in the works to support the excellent work of the Department of Animal Protection under the direction of Tim Clough. In addition to space to house animals “in custody” the new facility will include an adoption center funded by a public private partnership.

Junior Past County Administrator Rebecca T. Dickson previewed the work of Goochland Pet Lovers a 501 (c)3 organization. Board Chair is Tom Winfree, President Wayne Dementi.

The mission of the organization explained Dickson, is “fund raising and friend raising in support of providing the very best adoption and rescue experience for both pets-in-need and the community through an innovative public/private partnership with Goochland County.”

It was established in June, in response to community support to offer services beyond the basic state mandated core functions of the new animal shelter. Oversight of finances of the organizations will be available to the county to ensure transparent operations
The adoption center will occupy about 2,600 of the planned 12,900 square feet in the new facility. It will include a reception area to allow people to spend time in the shelter, plain view of adoptable pets, cat towers, and construction of “shell space” for an eventual for a spay neuter area. Glass rooms to allow prospective “parents” to view adoptable pets on off hours is also planned. The expected total cost is $4.8 million, including the estimated at $1.5 million for the adoption center.

Dickson requested county support of an initial $50,000 in seed money for Goochland Pet Lovers, and an additional $100,000 in capital funds. Startup costs for the organization could include retention of professional fund raising support and creation of promotional materials. She also requested in-kind assistance from the county to include meeting space and clerical and technical support.

The GPL board, said Dickson, includes an attorney and a CPA, as well as many local philanthropists. Special fund raising events are planned. The supervisors appropriated the initial amount and the approved the capital contribution—to be made when GPL funds are fully raised—and whole-heartedly endorsed in-kind support.

According to County Administrator John Budesky, the animal shelter, whose construction is expected to go to bid early next year, was designed to be built in phases so the adoption center can be built at a later time if funds are not in hand at the outset.

Dementi said that the GPL board is in the final stages of securing its tax deductible status, adding members, and putting its “game plan” together. He expects that the bulk of fund raising will occur in 2017, starting in late winter.

As FLAG, the local volunteer rescue organization that had rescued more than 3,500 pets in its 30-year history, is shutting down, the proposed adoption center is good news. Dementi said that GPL has reached out to FLAG and is still in discussions.

Collaborating with a local non-profit to fund a useful enhancement for the county’s animal protection department is an ingenious approach to a better Goochland.

The supervisors went into closed session to discuss the assignments and performance of the county attorney.

At the end of their afternoon session, the Board toured the nearly complete renovations of the Department of Community Development space on the first floor of the administration building. The wide hallway left over from the building’s first life as a high school will now be used for office and other work spaces. A new customer service center providing one stop assistance, and large conference room will be nice additions to the building. Renovations are expected to be complete and the DCD moved back in by November 14.

Incorporating wide hallways into workspace will enhance operations in the Department of Community Development.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Octoberfest at the sausage factory

Goochland supervisors labored late into the night of October 4 as they voted on tricky land use matters in ways that made few people happy.

The public hearing on sale of the old bus garage site, which has been deemed surplus property, to an entity that intends to build a CVS big box emporium there for $1,350,000 drew the most interest from the community.

This parcel is one of several owned by the county that were started through the rezoning process last April and rezoned to B1 in August. Because Matt Ryan, director of economic development, received a letter of intent to purchase the parcel on the corner of Fairground and Sandy Hook Roads shortly after the rezoning, there was some speculation that the county was in cahoots with the purchaser, Lee Hall Plaza, Inc. and it was an under the table done deal.The livestream of this portion of the meeting does not seem to have been recorded.(The link has been fixed and this portion of the meeting is now available for viewing. October 11, 2016.)

Ryan said that he believed that Lee Hall Plaza, Inc. was scouting for a location in Courthouse Village and may have considered another privately owned site, also zoned B-1. As pharmacies with drive-through windows are by right uses in the B-1 zoning district, no public hearing would be required for the private purchase, but would still need to comply with overlay district standards.

Wayne Dawson, owner of Dawson’s Pharmacy, contended that the sale of the property to pave the way for a CVS would put him out of business. Many, if not all, of the supervisors, are Dawson’s customers and know first-hand the caliber of personal service he provides to the community.

Ashley Dawson explained that her father grew up working in a small town pharmacy and brought that kind of service to Goochland. “” You’re not going to get the same kind of after hours service from a chain. The only time my father did not make a delivery was when he was walking my sister down the aisle,” she tearfully declared. Indeed, many in the Goochland community have experienced Wayne personally delivering a prescription on his way home.

He likened the advent of a CVS here to being shot in the head after giving everything he had in service to the Goochland community since 2005. He said that it is impossible for a small independent pharmacy to compete with a national chain. Dawson also wondered why CVS would be interested in Courthouse Village, which has a small population. It might make sense in Centerville, he said, where there are more people and no pharmacy. Given the number of vacant commercial properties in Courthouse Village, both along River Road West and Sandy Hook Road, there would seem to be little reason to build more.

Dawson presented the Board with a petition signed by 185 customers opposing the sale. It is believed that many other citizens expressed their opposition to the sale privately to their supervisors.

Owners of residential properties that adjoin the site reiterated concerns about adequate buffering to mitigate the impact of commercial uses close to occupied homes that were made during the rezoning process. Some expressed skepticism that a line of bushes would obscure headlights from late night trips through an all-night pharmacy’s drive in window.

Several speakers contended that the advent of any “big box” entity will destroy the small town ambience of Courthouse Village and drive out the “mom and pop” businesses that give it character.

The supervisors declared that government should not play a role competition among businesses to pick winners and losers. “Whatever locates on that property will be competing with someone,” District 2 Supervisor Manuel Alvarez, Jr. observed.
In addition to the sale proceeds, the land will go on the tax rolls and generate business revenue. The supervisors pledged to continue to be customers of Dawson’s Pharmacy.

Ryan said that the letter of intent incudes up to 240 days of “due diligence” for the buyer to take a closer look at the proposal during which matters could be revealed to prevent the sale from closing.

“This is a tough one,” said Ken Peterson, District 5. “People involved cannot appreciate enough the things that small business does for their neighbors.”

Ned Creasey, District 3, moved to approve the matter contending it was the best for the county. He also promised to support Dawson. The vote to approve was unanimous.

Earlier in the evening, the supervisors seemed to go out of their way to accommodate Donna Reynolds, who has been using her property west of Hadensville as an event venue for several years. She apparently never bothered to obtain a business license or zoning to operate a place of public assembly. Her property is also in land use. (This was likely a precipitating factor in the new policy requiring those with property in land use to recertify eligibility each year.)

Reynolds hosts events in an existing barn, tent, and other outdoor spaces. According to remarks made during the public hearing by residents of the nearby Shelton Ridge community, loud music, noise, and sometimes fireworks, regularly accompanied events.
Reynolds retained a sound engineer to advise on mitigating the noise. Measures to be taken include prohibiting subwoofers, responsible for the annoying visceral “boom boom,” and aiming music played in the tent toward Broad Street Road until the end of 2016. Early in the new year, Reynolds will build a larger sound proof barn where future activities will take place indoors.

Other restrictions, consistent with those imposed on other local event venues like Dover Hall and the Adams International School, require licensed bar tenders to encourage responsible alcohol consumption, and uniformed security when event with music and alcohol service exceeds a specified threshold.

The conditional use permit granted by the supervisors (3-2 with Creasey and Board Chair Bob Minnick, District 4, in dissent) expires on June 30, 2017. This should give Reynolds adequate time to get the new barn built and hold a few events to see if it eliminates the noise issues. County policy allows businesses not in compliance with county code to continue operations while they work through their issues.

There are no guarantees that the county will grant Reynolds a CUP extension at that time. The staff report said that Reynolds’ enterprise offers little economic benefit to the county.

Susan Lascolette District 1 contended that people should have the right to use their land as they see fit without harming the neighbors.

Rural economic development is supposed to allow people realize value from their land without subdividing it. All too often, little is done to mitigate the negative impact of these businesses on neighboring homeowners who were there first.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

CTE goes to college

Kenny Bouwens and devices that "will change the world."

On Wednesday, September 28, members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Program at the University of Richmond got a glimpse of the excellence of Goochland’s Career and Technical Education Program.

An overview of 3D printing was presented by Kenneth “Kenny” Bouwens, who teaches video, photography, and engineering at Goochland High School. He was named by the Virginia Technology and Engineering Education Association as its 2016 their annual High School Teacher of the Year. Bouwens is graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego, where he earned a master’s degree in technology education. He beginning his seventh year as a public educator and his third year with Goochland County Public Schools.
Osher students ask lots of questions of Kenny Bouwens (in tie)

Bouwens translated a technology that seems like magic to those who went to high school in the last century into simple terms. “Basically, a 3D printer is a hot glue gun on a track that moves it back and forth over a base.”

Software slices the finished object into layers that are translated into instructions for each pass of the glue gun over the base. “The printer head moves left and right, front to back, and up and down in basic applications,” explained Bouwens.

He brought two GCPS printers for the demonstration. As he spoke, the printer head of the smaller unit dutifully applied layer upon layer of a plastic filament on the base. After about 38 minutes, it stopped having printed a circular gizmo with free moving “ball bearings” inside a lip. (See photo.)

Applications of the technology are limited only by the imagination, said Bouwens. Currently, 3D printing creates buildings from cement; confections from molten chocolate; auto parts from carbon fiber; and, perhaps most amazing of all, custom made replacement body parts like ears and prosthetic limbs from medical grade plastic.

Some 3D printers come with software for their own parts, making them self-replicating. offers downloadable software for an amazing array of stuff. Computer aided design (CAD) software makes 3D printing work. Downloadable programs are generally not editable.

Filament, the stuff that is melted to create the finished product comes in many forms. A recyclable plastic is the least expensive. Some printers have more than one head that can use different filaments to create an end product. Objects with protrusions use dissolvable support material. Bouwens said that the units do not draw a great deal of current and have HEPA filters to control fumes.

Some units have cameras that are used for remote monitoring of printing operations that can take more than a day to complete.
Designs for 3D projects may begin with drawings or scans of physical objects that can “print” exact replicas, for perfectly fitting artificial limbs. Scanning software is available for iPads.

“The reality check is that 3d printing costs more than conventional manufacturing and is slower,” said Bowens. But, it is a less expensive way to make a prototype that can be tweaked before manufacture on a large scale, or a single object.”

Speaking to an audience that included many grandparents, Bouwens contended that a simple 3D printer, which costs about the same as a Play Station, is a more educational gift. “Give your grandchildren one of these and they can change the world,” he said.

Bruce Watson, Director of CTE, who just happens to be married to Peggy Watson, Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, celebrated Goochland’s great CTE program. Goochland students, he explained use 3D printing technology in the robotics program to create prototype parts to see if they fit. If so, they are fabricated from metal, if not, back to the proverbial drawing board.

Architecture students design simple houses that they then 3D print to bring their work to life. “We are giving our students skills to prepare them for jobs that don’t exist yet,” Watson said.

“And they’re doing this in Goochland?” an Osher member was heard to ask. Yes, we are!