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New Blue Ridge Community and Technical College generating excitement

May 18, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com
  • Blue Ridge Community and Technical College President Peter G. Checkovich gives faculty and staff a tour of the school's new campus building Friday. School administrators are projected to begin moving to the campus off W.Va. 45 in July and be ready for the beginning of fall semester classes Aug. 20.
By Matthew Umstead

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The excitement among the faculty and staff of Blue Ridge Community and Technical College was apparent Friday as they visited their future classrooms and offices at the school’s new campus.

“Who’s ready to move out (here)?,” CTC President Peter G. Checkovich asked the smiling group toward the end of a tour he conducted.

The three-story, academic/administration building on the college’s new 46-acre campus at 13650 Apple Harvest Drive west of Martinsburg is on track to be ready for the beginning of fall semester classes on Aug. 20, Checkovich said.

College administrators are planning to move from leased first-floor space in the Berkeley County administration building at 400 W. Stephen St. in July, he said.

The building is about 20,000-square-feet larger than the leased space, and Checkovich pointed to multiple places for students to study, gather and sleep.

“And they do sleep,” Checkovich said.

Fall 2012 enrollment is projected to be about 4,500 students, according to Leslie See, the college’s vice president for enrollment management.

Just beyond the building’s welcome desk, an Internet cafe taking shape in the building will seat more than 70 students, Checkovich said. A place for students to eat and a bookstore will be operated nearby.

While lacking furnishings and finishing touches, most of the  building’s interior walls appeared to be painted. Tile and carpet flooring was in varying stages of completion.

About the only significant challenge that will not be addressed by the first day of classes will be the lack of a left-turn lane that is needed on Apple Harvest Drive (W.Va. 45), Checkovich said.

Until the road is widened, he said the college may need assistance with traffic direction at the campus entrance.

Trees will be planted along the entrance road to the campus, and some large rocks unearthed by site preparation will become part of landscaping in front of the building, Checkovich said.

Morgan-Keller Construction of Frederick, Md., was awarded a $14.3 million general contract in May 2011.

The contract includes the construction of the brick building, which bears a resemblance to the architectural style of the college's current headquarters, along with parking areas, access roads and sidewalks.

College officials say they are still within a $16.5 million budget for the new campus and building project.

The construction is being funded through the issue of $13.5 million in bonds authorized by the state, which also allocated $3 million for the purchase of property for the new campus.

The college closed on the purchase of the new campus property from Interstate Development Group LLC in 2010.

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