Bluefield College and its employees and students inject millions of dollars into the economies of Tazewell County, Virginia, and Mercer County, West Virginia, according to a study completed by Chmura Economics & Analytics of Richmond, Virginia.
In fact, Chmura concluded, the total annual economic impact of Bluefield College on the communities in which it serves is $14.5 million.
Using numbers from BC’s current fiscal year, Chmura determined spending from the college’s operations in 2010-2011 would total $3.5 million, including $1.1 million in direct spending and an additional $2.4 million in indirect expenditures.
For example, the college spends a significant amount each year at local businesses to purchase supplies and services necessary to support its daily operation in instruction, student services, and institutional support. That spending, Chmura said, supports some 249 jobs in Tazewell and Mercer counties.
“We are blessed to be in a community that is so supportive of the college,” said President David Olive, “and I am pleased to see how much the college is able to give back to the community in the form of resource investment and jobs.”
In addition, the school’s capital investments in 2010-’11 are projected to total $2.9 million and generate important economic impacts in the region. Over the past three fiscal years, BC has invested more than $6.6 million in capital improvement projects, including a new residence hall in 2009. Those capital expenditures, Chmura said, create jobs in construction and related industries in the region.
“Each year we strive to strengthen the learning and living environment on campus by investing resources into existing and new facilities,” said Dr. Olive. “We are excited about future plans for new facilities that are on the drawing board, and we want to keep growing and be part of a growing community.”
Along with the $3.5 million in operational expenditures and $2.9 million in capital investments, employee spending at Bluefield College will total $3.7 million in 2010-’11, according to the Chmura findings. BC retains 86 full-time employees and an employee payroll of $4.7 million. With 87 percent of those employees living in Tazewell and Mercer counties, employee spending in the region will generate an annual impact of $3.7 million this fiscal year.
More than 700 students enrolled at Bluefield College in the fall of 2010, including 440 on the main campus in Bluefield, Virginia. Using industry standards, Chmura determined that spending from the 440 students on campus is likely to generate an economic impact of $4 million in 2010-’11.
In addition, visitor expenditures are projected to reach $400,000. That spending comes from visitor expenses related to commencement, campus tours, Homecoming, camps, conferences, athletic events, fine arts activities, and other occasions that bring guests to Bluefield for day, overnight, or weeklong stays.
For example, last year alone Bluefield College hosted nine summer camps and conferences for nearly 700 participants, and this winter the college entertained more than 300 guests during a winter youth ski and worship weekend. All together, an estimated 1,465 guests are expected to attend Bluefield College camps, conferences, concerts, and rallies this fiscal year. Another 2,284 will come to Bluefield with visiting athletic teams. On average, each guest will spend 3.5 nights in the region, and all will drop an estimated $400,000 in Tazewell and Mercer counties.
Bluefield College’s economic impact also includes tax revenue for Tazewell and Mercer counties and the state governments of Virginia and West Virginia. Local tax revenues for 2010-’11 are expected to be $16,393 for the two counties, while state tax revenues for the same year are estimated to be $500,000 for both state governments.
And, with the advent of intercollegiate football, the development of a new rural healthcare education program, plans for another new residence hall, and other projected growth, the economic impact of this small private Christian college is only going to get greater, Chmura said. In fact, Chmura’s study projected increases over the next few years in student enrollment, operating expenditures, capital investments, student spending, employee numbers, payroll, and the overall economic impact of Bluefield College from $14.5 million to $19.4 million.
“The return of football to the college is generating a great deal of interest and excitement in the community, and I know as the college benefits from football so will the community,” Dr. Olive added. “It’s a great partnership the college and community have with one another.”