Hazel family donates $1 million for new building for Fauquier’s community college
John "Til" Hazel, brother of the late William "Bill" Hazel, speaks as his family announces a $1 million contribution to Lord Fairfax Community College during its 25th-anniversary celebration. - Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Mark Grandstaff
The Hazel Academic Building will sit just south of the old barn on campus.
The family of construction magnate William Hazel announced a $1 million donation for a new Lord Fairfax Community College academic building Wednesday.
Standing in an outdoor pavilion, flanked by current and former state legislators, Hazel's son, William Hazel Jr., announced the donation in a flourish marking the 25th anniversary of the college's presence in Fauquier County.
The newly-christened Hazel Academic Building, once complete, will take up 40,000 square feet and will sit just south of the old barn on campus. Chris Boies, Lord Fairfax's vice president of financial and administrative services, said the building will cost about $20 million to build, stock and furnish.
The building will contain classrooms and equipment for science, technology, engineering, math and nursing disciplines that have increasingly formed the core of the northern Virginia economy, Boies said. Lord Fairfax's proposal for the building is now in its second cycle in Virginia's six-year higher education capital outlay plan, Boies said. Only about 20 or 30 of the hundreds of projects in that plan get support from the state assembly every year, Boies said. But the Hazel family's $1 million contribution increases the likelihood of the college's plan coming to fruition, he said.
"This gift will help us move forward," Boies said. "Any time you can show private interest and investment in a project, it's a good thing."
The gift comes from the fortune William Hazel amassed through his career in construction. Hazel, who died last September, started one of the state's largest construction firms with a single bulldozer, which he drove.
He never went to college, said his son, who is a doctor and Virginia's secretary of health and human resources.
"I think he always wished he had. Maybe he thought he would have been successful in life if maybe he had gone to college," Hazel Jr. said to the crowd's laughter.
Hazel's brother, John "Til" Hazel, said the construction giant's interest in education started when he learned some of his employees couldn't read to understand the manuals for excavation equipment that had grown more complex as the years passed. In the years since, Hazel and his family have donated land and money to several schools in the region, including Lord Fairfax Community College and Highland School in Warrenton.
Russell Potts Jr., the former state senator who represented Senate District 27, called Hazel "a champion of the little guy." Potts said the Hazel family's contribution puts the new academic building's construction within reach.
"It will happen, and it'll happen sooner than anybody thinks," Potts said.
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