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Shott Foundation Gives $1 Million to BC

Construction of Bluefield College’s state-of-the-art Campus and Community Wellness Center (CCWC) is one million steps closer to reality, thanks to a grant unveiled by the Hugh I. Shott, Jr. Foundation during a ceremony on the BC campus, Friday, April 20.

Chris Shoemaker

April 26, 2012

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Bluefield College Board chair Julie Johnson (left) and Shott Foundation president R.W. “Buzzy” Wilkinson unveil the school’s plans to construct a new Campus and Community Wellness Center with the support of a $1 million challenge grant from the Shott Foundation.

 

 

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Trustee Dr. David Bailey talks about the details of BC's "Capturing the Imagination" capital campaign.

During the school’s Night of Philanthropy, an evening set aside to thank supporters for their generosity and to showcase new college initiatives, the Shott Foundation’s R.W. “Buzzy” Wilkinson announced a $1 million challenge grant for phase one construction of BC’s proposed CCWC.

 

“This is a significant and transformational gift for Bluefield College,” said President David Olive. “The Campus and Community Wellness Center will be a state-of-the-art facility like no other building on campus. Students will have unprecedented opportunities for recreation and wellness in this facility. We can’t wait to announce that we have been able to leverage funds to match the Shott grant.”

 

As a challenge grant, the Shott gift calls on Bluefield College to raise an additional $1 million to match the foundation’s original donation. Once matched by gifts from other alumni and friends, the school will have $2 million to add to the half million already raised toward the $4 million necessary for phase one of the CCWC.

 

“Our hope is to have $4 million in gifts and pledges by December 31 of this year so that we can begin phase one of construction,” said BC’s Ruth Blankenship, vice president for advancement. “As a result of this generous gift from the Shott Foundation, we are well on our way.”

 

The Campus and Community Wellness Center is a proposed $14 million structure to be constructed in three separate phases on the east end of campus where the Dome Gymnasium currently resides. Designed by award-winning architects from Thompson and Litton in Tazewell, Virginia, once completed the building will total more than 65,000 square feet and house a 1,000-seat intercollegiate competition gymnasium, a recreation gymnasium, an indoor walking track, an athletic training center, classrooms, offices, and a natatorium.

 

“As the first free standing wellness center in Bluefield College history, this facility will serve the recreational, fitness and activity interests of Bluefield College students, faculty, staff and alumni,” said Dr. Olive. “It will not only be an important asset to the college, but also to the community and region.”

 

The college began initial discussions regarding a similar facility in 2008 with the Town of Bluefield. Since then, the cooperative plan with the Town has dissolved, and the college has been busy redesigning the project. With new plans and sketches in place, BC’s Board of Trustees approved formal plans for phase one fundraising during its fall 2011 meetings with the hope of raising $4 million by December of this year to begin phase one construction. Once complete, phase one of the CCWC will include multiple locker rooms, equipment storage, and a weight and cardio training center.

 

In announcing the Shott Foundation’s support of the CCWC, Wilkinson spoke about the importance of Bluefield College to the Greater Bluefield community and the benefits the new Campus and Community Wellness Center will bring to BC and the community at-large.

 

“We know how vital Bluefield College is to this community, and we want to support the school,” said Wilkinson, who also noted other BC projects supported by the Shott Foundation, including renovations to the Dome, Shott Hall, and Harman Chapel. “We’re really proud to be a partner with the college on this new Campus and Community Wellness Center.”

 

Along with the announcement of the Shott challenge grant, BC also unveiled the public portion of its new capital campaign, “Imagining the Future,” a $14 million venture designed primarily for the new CCWC.

 

“It’s time,” said BC trustee Dr. David Bailey about the new capital campaign, which was shelved during its preliminary stages a few years ago due to a challenging economic environment and other priorities on the BC campus. “This is nearly twice the amount the college has ever raised in a capital campaign. It’s an ambitious goal, but one we’re confident, with your support, we can achieve.”

 

As an expression of appreciation to donors, the college shared details of accomplishments on campus during the past year, including the revitalization of intercollegiate football, the creation of a new nursing program, quarter-million-dollar renovations to the school’s dining hall, the establishment of several new scholarship funds, and a school record $2.9 million in fundraising for 2011-2012.

 

“When I first began working at Bluefield College 12 years ago,” said Blankenship, “I imagined the potential that existed here for new programs in academics and athletics, renovated and new facilities, expanded opportunities for our students, and additional scholarship funds. Those dreams were not just shared by me, but by so many of you. And today, I am proud to share that what so many of us imagined is now a reality through the generosity of alumni and friends.”

 

But, the vision doesn’t stop there, added Blankenship, who noted that in addition to the CCWC the college hopes to continue to improve its living and learning environment to further meet the needs of students like Cheznee Daily, a junior exercise science major from Mooresville, North Carolina, who also spoke to donors during the Night of Philanthropy.

 

“I want to thank you for your gifts to Bluefield College,” said Daily, who also plays volleyball and is a Student Ambassador at BC. “I wouldn’t be here without your support. I am blessed to be a student here. I have grown in my faith and as a young woman and learned so much from my professors and my coaches. Thank you for making that possible.”

 

BC’s Night of Philanthropy also included remarks from regionally recognized fundraiser Kyle Hauth, a motivational speaker who serves as executive director of the Orange Grove Center. In addition, BC Board Chair Julie Johnson recognized special guests in attendance, including U.S. Congressman Morgan Griffith.

 

To be a part of the campaign for Bluefield College’s Campus and Community Wellness Center, contact Blankenship by phone at 276-326-4556 or by e-mail at , or visit the BC web site at www.bluefield.edu/imagination.

 

 

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