Kids once skipped school to go to the mall. Now a school is opening there.

Posted at 1:54 PM, Aug 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-23 15:34:24-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- There was a time when Regency Mall was the place to shop in Henrico County. Now, nearly 50 years after it opened in 1975, the mall serves a new purpose.

In recent months, there has been a rebirth at the aging mall. A mixture of housing, recreation, and entertainment venues have opened alongside more traditional shopping mall stores. Now the legacy mall can add a school to its list of tenants.

Henrico County Public Schools opened an Adult Education Center inside Regency Mall.

Regency Mall Adult Education

"If you think about a storefront, what's in a storefront is there to draw people's attention? We're trying to draw the students' attention to their future," Henrico Workforce & Career Development Director Mac Beaton said. "Every time you walk to your ELA class, or your GED class, you're walking by continual opportunities. You might not think today, but then you see one of your friends who has taken advantage of that. And then next thing, you know, the business partners here talking to you about how to get a job."

At the school, adults can learn trades desperately needed in the workforce, from nursing to HVAC, automotive trades, or becoming part of the Henrico Sheriff’s Department.

According to a news release sent by Henrico Schools, the center at Regency replaces a western Henrico adult education center which was housed in a former church building on Broad Street. The division has a second adult education center in Highland Springs.

"I think it's going to become very popular across the country," Beaton said. "What better place to have a class where you can treat an adult like an adult?"

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