Innovative Career and Technical Center Wins Platinum Award from VSBA

WINCHESTER, Va. — Shockey is proud to announce that the Emil & Grace Shihadeh Innovation Center was chosen as the Platinum winner in the 2022 VSBA (Virginia School Boards Association) Architecture Contest. The award was presented on November 17 at the VSBA Annual Convention in Williamsburg. Projects were evaluated for learning ambiance, community, multi-functionality, sustainability, civic presence, and safety.

Shihadeh Innovation Center is an interdisciplinary campus for career and technical education (CTE) classes in Winchester. It gives students an experience that mirrors the working world and equips them with skills they can use to find a job, regardless of whether they go to college. Core academic subjects (taught at Handley, the high school nearby) are creatively merged with courses in either the Professional Skills Academy, the Health Sciences Academy, or the Advanced Technologies Academy. Each academy offers programs that equip students with the abilities and credentials needed for their chosen vocations. In addition to the three academies, the Innovation Center supports architecture, engineering, cybersecurity, robotics, computer networking, and systems technology career development.

The school equips students with the skills and credentials needed to prepare and empower them for a career in their respective fields. “All three of these academies align with the workforce needs of tomorrow. These are real jobs, and students can walk out the door and right into a job — or into college or into community college,” says Winchester Public Schools Superintendent Jason Van Heukelum.

Designed by VMDO Architects and Reader + Swartz Architects, the school provides a state-of-the-art center for dynamic teaching, collaboration, and presentations. The designers were intentional about creating opportunities for social learning, with shared spaces to collaborate, communicate, and challenge one another. This public team learning helps students practice critical thinking skills, building confidence and teaching them how to deal with failure. Within the 46,400-SF complex, students practice job skills such as time management, communication, and conflict resolution.

Filled with abundant natural daylighting, healthy materials, excellent air quality, and reduced energy use, Shihadeh also wins high praise for sustainability.

“With Shihadeh, Winchester Public Schools has created a launchpad for placing its students at the vanguard of tomorrow’s skilled workforce,” says Jeff Boehm, President of Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc.

Association for Learning Environments Conference

Earlier this fall, the Shihadeh Innovation Center was chosen as the host location for the mid-year conference of the Virginia Association for Learning Environments. The conference, hosted by Winchester Public Schools, provided guided breakout tours of each of the three learning academies — the Professional Skills Academy, the Health Sciences Academy, and the Advanced Technologies Academy.


Project Team

  • Owner: Winchester Public Schools
  • School: Emil & Grace Shihadeh Innovation Center
  • Architect: VMDO / Reader & Swartz
  • General Contractor: Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc.
  • Photographer: Lincoln Barbour