Just like everything else, the long-planned student housing project for Bluefield State College also was slowed by the coronavirus pandemic. But college officials were not deterred in their dream of bringing on-campus housing back to Bluefield State after a 52 year absence.
That vision was finally realized last week when construction began on the new Heritage Village project. The first of four 11,175-square foot “quads” is being constructed and will be ready to house 30 students by August 2021. Three other quads also are planned, bringing the total number of students who will eventually be able to live on campus to 120.
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. The dorms will be located in the lower parking lot area of the student center.
“This is something positive for Bluefield,” Rev. Garry Moore, chair of the Bluefield State College Board of Governors, said last week, adding that he is grateful for the college’s partnership with the city and how supportive city officials have been with the endeavor. “Many people have worked together on this. A lot of alumni have been praying for this moment, and it’s an emotional moment for them. It is an extremely emotional time for many people here.”
The last on-campus housing at Bluefield State College was closed in 1968 after a period of racial unrest and a bombing incident on campus.
Several attempts have been made since that time 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.
The new concept of the quad units surfaced after Robin Capehart took over as interim president of the college in January 2018. He was later named president in September 2018.
The project began taking shape throughout 2019 with help from a number of entities, including the Shott Foundation.
The total cost of the entire project with all four quads has been estimated at about $12 million.
Now that construction is finally underway on the Heritage Village, the work marks the beginning of a new chapter in long history of Bluefield State College.
We look forward to the completion of this important project. The sooner students are able to reside on campus again the better for the college and the community.