It was a brief ceremony recently that marked the beginning of construction of an addition to the main building of the Alexandria campus of Northern Virginia Community College and a separate Engineering and Technology Building. But for the state's fastest growing community college, it meant the long-awaited expansion was becoming a reality.

"The college has desperately needed this additional space for several years," said NVCC President Richard Ernst.

"We've been working with an acute shortage of space for some time," said Jean Netherton, provost of the Alexandria campus. "We are using hallways for places for students to sit down and study."

While the new construction "will not solve all the problems," Netherton said,"it will alleviate them, allowing us to provide more space for our programs on campus and to provide better support for these instructional programs."

The expansion will also allow the [WORD ILLEGIBLE ] of some new programs, Netherton said, such as a marine engine maintenance program and an auto body maintenance and repair program.

The Alexandria campus currently has one permanent building, which has been overcrowded since the staff and students moved into it in the summer of 1973. The academic/administration building at3001 N. Beauregard St."was designed to hold approximately 4,000 students," Netherton said, but when moving day finally came, the Alexandria campus had already grown to almost 6,000 students. There are now about 10,000 students at the Alexandria campus.

Some students attend classes at a rented Bailey's Cross Roads warehouse, which will continue to be use after the construction is completed. Classes are also held at18 other locations in the area. While some classes are located off-campus to reach are located off-campus for lack of space.

The new construction will provide space for about 5,000 students, Netherton said. The addition to the main building will add 60,000 aquare feet of space, and the new builidngwill be 39,245 square feet.

Bothe the addition to the main building and the new Engineering and Technology building are expected to be completed by late fall, 1979.

Funding for the projects comes from a bond referendum approved by Virginia voters in November, 1977, in which $86,475,000 was allocated for educationl institutions statewide. Northern Virginia Community College was allotted $7,655,000, and the Alexandria campus projects will cost $4,328,000. The remainder of the NVCC allocation will be used for a dental hygiene laboratory at the Annandale campus.

The addition to the four-level main campus building will be conected to the east end of the building, providing additional space for classrooms, music rooms and student services. Faculty areas for the divisions of humanities, health and public servic, business, and natural science and mathematics will also be relocated in the new addition, making more space available for expansion of the campus lerning resource center.

The Engineering and Technology Building will contain the engineering classes and labs and a model automotive facility for the Northern Virginia area. In the bulding there will be a general engineering laboratory for builing trades and home maintenance instrutction, a traditional engineering laboratory where soil mechanics, concrete technology and bituminous technology will be taught. The building will also contain three drafting areas.

The modern brick and glass engineering building will be one story high at one point and two stories high at others, and will surround a courtyard. Inside, there will be an electronic diagnostic lane, an air-conditioning and electrical laboratory, a body and paint shop, and two general auto repair areas, all with access from the courtyard.

Both the addition and the new building were designed by the Alexandria architectural firm of Lyles, bisset, Carlisle and Wolff. That firm also designed the existing building on the Alexandria campus. the contractor for the projects is the Wayne Construction Company in Arlington.

The projects are the latest expansion to Northern Virginia Community College, which began operating in 1965 with 761 students at the rented Bailey's Cross Road warehouse. The college has since grown to about 30,000 students at five campuses.

Two more additions are planned for the building at the Alexandria campus, along with a separate physical education facility. Funds for those projects are not yet available.

Tthe college offers occupational and technical programs geared to employment opportumities in the local area;programs designed for transfer to four-year college;cooperative educational programs, in which a student's employment is part of the college program, and many self-enrichment courses.

The student body at the Alexandria campus is made op of working adults, high school graduates, international students, the handicapped, military personnel and senior citizens.