Trustees Discuss Capital Improvements
Capital improvement projects were the topics of discussion -- and plenty of them -- when Bluefield College’s Board of Trustees gathered on campus for its annual spring meetings in April.
May 16, 2012
As part of its exploration into additonal student housing on campus, the BC Board evaluated funding options for a new townhouse complex.
The BC Board celebrated a $1 million challenge grant in April from the Shott Foundation for first-phase construction of the school's proposed Campus and Community Wellness Center.
During the two-day session, the BC governing body gave the go-ahead for renovations to Lansdell Hall to create an integrated administrative center for students; analyzed plans to construct a new clock tower sign and message board on the east end of campus; continued to explore the possibility of constructing a townhouse complex to increase student housing; and celebrated a $1 million gift to support the first phase of construction of a new Campus and Community Wellness Center.
The renovations to Lansdell Hall, set to begin this summer and to be completed by the fall of 2012, will create what administrators are calling a “one-stop shop for serving students’ needs” by relocating and combining offices or personnel in the Registrar, Financial Aid, and Student Account offices in one place on the third floor of Lansdell Hall.
“The new BC Central will provide a place where students can, in one location, address matters pertaining to registration, financial aid, and their student accounts,” said President David Olive. “It should enhance our service to students.”
The Board of Trustees also reviewed plans for a proposed clock tower sign and LED message board. Once fully approved, the sign will be located on the east end of campus near the intersection of College and Stadium drives and will feature three electronic LED panels for marketing BC news and events. Assisting with the proposed project are alumni Garry Jones and Steve Nolley and local businessmen Bud Acken and Brad Ayers.
During the spring Board session, the trustees continued discussing a proposed townhouse complex for campus, particularly funding for the project. In fact, the Board has been considering expanding student housing since the fall of 2010 when residential population began to reach capacity despite the construction of East River Residence Hall in the spring of 2009. If approved and once fully constructed, the townhouse project will consist of two three-story four-unit townhouses on the southwest corner of campus with each unit housing 10 students and each building housing 40 students for a total capacity of 80 students.
To date, the Board has reviewed sketches of the proposed townhouse complex and applied for funding with the USDA. During this spring’s session, the trustees continued to review information related to the USDA loan process.
In other capital improvement project business, the Board celebrated the announcement of a $1 million challenge grant from the High I. Shott, Jr. Foundation for the first phase of construction of a new Campus and Community Wellness Center (CCWC). The CCWC is a proposed $14 million facility to be constructed in three separate phases on the east end of campus where the Dome Gymnasium currently resides. 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.
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, the Board approved fundraising for the first phase of the CCWC in the fall of 2011. With nearly $500,000 already in hand before the $1 million Shott gift, the school hopes to reach $4 million by December 2012 to begin phase one construction.
“We know how vital Bluefield College is to this community, and we want to support the school,” said Shott Foundation president R.W. “Buzzy” Wilkinson. “We’re really proud to be a partner with the college on this new Campus and Community Wellness Center.”
In other business, the Board of Trustees endorsed the administration’s pursuit of accreditation for a master’s degree in education and recognized retiring trustees Bill Evans of Bluefield, Virginia, Steven Layfield of Abingdon, Virginia, and Joseph Tatum of Vinton, Virginia.