New campus for Blue Ridge Community and Technical College on track

An informal brick-laying ceremony has been set for Sept. 15 for the first building at the site

August 23, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |
  • Here is an artist's drawing of the exterior of the Blue Ridge Career and Technology Center's new building that will be built off W.Va. 45 (Apple Harvest Drive) west of Interstate 81.
Submitted photo

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Construction of the new main campus for Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in Berkeley County is well under way and is projected to open on July 15, 2012, according to school President Peter G. Checkovich.

College leaders are planning to hold an informal brick-laying ceremony on Sept. 15 for the first building at the site of the new campus off W.Va. 45 west of Interstate 81. But Checkovich said Monday that the ground still is "very rough" and cannot be readily toured by the public.

Frederick, Md.-based Morgan-Keller Construction was awarded the general contract in May 2011, after submitting the lowest of eight bids, according to Richard Donovan, chief financial officer for the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education.

The $14.3-million contract entails the construction of a red-brick building that bears a resemblance to the architectural style of the college's current headquarters at 400 W. Stephen St., parking areas, access roads and sidewalks, according to Checkovich and Donovan.

"We haven't forgotten where we've came from," Checkovich said of the building design that was chosen.

Continental Brick Co. outside of Martinsburg is supplying the bricks, according to school officials.

The low "base" bid for the building, which will be about 55,000 square feet, was $13,860,000, Donovan said in an interview Tuesday.

After receiving favorable prices for the project, officials elected to add bid alternatives to the contract, which included additional parking, totaling more than 500 spaces, and a "green" roof on a two-story wing of the building, Donovan said.

"We had good competition (for the project)," Donovan said.

Features of the new building include an Internet cafe, designated space for a bookstore and a deli server. There will be 18 classrooms, six science labs and increased capacity for its testing center, according to the college.

Blue Ridge allocated $2 million in reserve funds for the project and was able to use money remaining from a $3 million state allocation that the school previously received to purchase land for the new campus, according to Donovan.

The cost of more than 40 acres that the college purchased and the awarded contract total about $16.5 million, Checkovich said.

The largest chunk of funding for the project was generated from a bond issue handled by the governing council for state community and technical college system, Donovan said.

When the new building opens, Checkovich said the college will move from the 33,000 square feet of space it currently leases in the Dunn Building, which is owned by the county.

With enrollment anticipated to soon top 4,000 students, the college is grappling with the challenge of finding classroom space, particularly for evening classes, Checkovich said.

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