Bluefield College’s Board of Trustees gathered on campus for its annual fall meetings in October, and during the two-day session the group approved the study of a new residence hall, elected new trustees, and approved a new budget and tuition figures for 2011.
Just one year ago in an effort to meet the growing demand of its resident population, the college opened East River Hall, a $4.3 million residence facility featuring large commons rooms with kitchenettes, computer labs, and laundry facilities. Three residence facilities on campus at that time were filled to capacity with demand for more living space projected to exceed the limits in the fall of 2009.
A year later, thanks in part to the construction of the benefit-laden East River Hall and other campus life improvements, including renovations to the Student Activities Center, the college is celebrating its largest resident population ever. Two hundred eighty of BC’s 440 traditional students are living on campus with even more expected for the fall of 2011.
“We are greatly encouraged in thinking that with the start of football we will surpass 500 traditional students next fall,” said President David Olive, “an enrollment level not seen at Bluefield College in more than a decade.”
And, with the record number of traditional students expected next fall, administrators project even more students living on campus. With that in mind, the Board of Trustees approved the creation of a Residence Hall Task Force to work with the administration on a feasibility study for new on-campus living quarters.
The study will include discussions with architects, contractors, and other related professionals regarding building options. It will also include the completion of architectural drawings and the development of fundraising and financing options.
“Our current resident census reflects that residential capacity is nearing its maximum again, with additional enrollment and residential growth anticipated,” said Dr. Olive. “The Facilities Committee of our Board of Trustees has discussed planning for a new residence hall and acknowledges that certain preliminary tasks must be completed in order to facilitate preparation.”
During its fall meetings, the BC Board also approved the renewal of terms for current trustees Julie Hull Johnson of Bluefield, West Virginia; Dr. David Bailey of Richmond, Virginia; Cookie Johnson of Bluefield, Virginia; and Pearl Moyers-Dean of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
In addition, the Board elected new trustees to the group, including Dr. Thomas Brewster of Falls Mills, Virginia; Robert Houck of Culpeper, Virginia; Jim Justice of Bluefield, Virginia; Sidney Lanier of Williamsburg, Virginia; and Sarah Reid of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
A Bluefield College alumnus, Dr. Brewster is deputy superintendent of Pulaski (VA) County Schools. A former teacher at Graham (VA) High School, assistant principal at Tazewell (VA) High School, principal at Pocahontas (VA) High School, and assistant professor at Concord (WV) University, he is chair of the Virginia Career Education Foundation, an advocate for adult education and literacy, and a member of a variety of state and national education associations.
Also a BC alumnus, Houck is a retired vice president of finance for Warrenton (VA) Farm Credit, who has also worked as an auto service manager, a business salesman, and a math teacher. He is a past president of Ruritan National and former trustee of the Ruritan National Foundation. A church deacon, trustee and Bible teacher, he also has served on a variety of mission trips and is a member of the Culpeper School Board.
Justice is a retired sales and marketing consultant, who managed his own firm in California for more than 20 years. His professional experience also includes two years as vice president of sales for Hy-Lite Products, two years as vice president of sales for Columbia Manufacturing, and seven years as director of marketing for Metal Industries. A Bluefield (WV) High School graduate, Justice was captain of the Beavers’ 1965 Class AAA state championship football team.
Another BC grad, Lanier has worked for more than 34 years as a quality assurance analyst for Anheuser-Busch. His experience also includes service as a flight operations dispatcher for Ram Aviation at Patrick Henry International Airport in Newport News, Virginia. A onetime candidate for Virginia’s House of Delegates, Lanier is a longtime member of the Lions Club, having served as a membership director, youth exchange participant, and Medical Eye Bank director.
Reid, also a BC graduate, is a 26-year veteran of the Virginia Public School System, currently serving as the coordinator of Middle School Special Education for Spotsylvania County. Her experience also includes work as an intervention specialist for at-risk students, an educational diagnostician, and a special education teacher. She began her career as an elementary teacher in Narrows, Virginia.
In other business, the BC Board approved the school’s budget for 2011-’12 and a six percent increase in tuition and three percent increase in room and board for the 2011-’12 academic year.