BSC bids

A snow covered Bluefield State College can be seen in this Monday photo. BSC is now accepting construction bids for the Heritage Village, a project that will allow students to live on campus for the first time in more than 50 years.

Bids are being accepted to construct on-campus housing at Bluefield State College, offering students the opportunity to live on campus for the first time in more than 50 years..

The Collegiate Housing of Bluefield, the organization created to own and operate the housing project, has set a deadline for Dec. 20 for submission of bids.

Called Heritage Village, the project, according to the request for bids, consists of four new 11,175-sq.-ft. student houses to be located in the area now serving as a lower parking for the student center.

Deadline to complete the project is Dec. 1, 2020, with a $30,000 bonus to the contractor if at least one of the four buildings is complete by Aug. 1, 2020.

An architectural firm, Edward Tucker Architects of Huntington, was awarded the bid for engineering/design work in August.

About 30 students will be housed in each unit for a total of around 120, and BSC President Robin Capehart said earlier that the hope is to have the first quad ready for occupancy for the 2020-21 school year.

Each unit will have seven two-person rooms on the first floor and eight on the second floor, with the laundry room located on the first floor.

A core drilling on the site was completed earlier this year.

Jim Nelson, BSC’s interim director of institutional and media relations and assistant to the president, said the construction bid will be awarded by the end of the year and the hope is to have the entire project finished by December 2020, depending on the weather.

Capehart has said that offering on-campus housing is a crucial element to help increase the college’s enrollment, which has seen a steep decline since 2012. The student retention rate is also low, and the option to live on campus could help boost that as well.

The Collegiate Housing Corporation of Bluefield is a separate entity that has been created to handle the housing.

“We formed a housing corporation, which is the way most colleges do business,” Capehart said. “The cooperative will have a board to oversee the construction as well as the operations of the dorms.”

Colleges weren’t built to be lessors, he added. “It’s an organization that basically will be the facilitator for housing on campus and off campus,” referring to plans to also eventually provide off-campus housing for older students.

The dorms at BSC, a historically black college, were closed abruptly in 1968 after a bombing on campus. That bombing followed other turmoil related to racial relations unrest at the time.

Attempts have been made since to reestablish on-campus housing. The most recent plan was a $28 million project from 2015 that included a dorm on top of a parking garage. But the parking garage plan was later scrapped and cut the price tag down to $14 million to house 135 students.

But the new concept of the quad unit surfaced after Capehart took over as interim president in January. He was named president in September by the BSC Board of Governors.

A mandatory pre-bid meeting for general contractors will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 in the cafeteria of the student center.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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