WHEELING - West Virginia Northern Community College's future student center building has appeared bare bones lately - but that's by design, a college official said.
Once home to Straub Hyundai, the Market and 16th streets structure will be shored up with additional steel to allow for the creation of a second story, which is where the student center will be located. The first and original floor will be home to a new Barnes & Noble bookstore.
Steve Lippiello, WVNCC chief financial officer and vice president of administrative services, said officials realized from the start that much of the existing building would have to be removed before adding to it. This process has made the building appear to only have four corners and a rear wall during construction.
"We had to take a lot out of the interior to structurally prepare the building. The steel added will support the second floor," he noted. "It was a bit more cost efficient to do what we're doing. ... It was all part of the plan to make sure we properly reinforced it to support the second floor."
The project also includes renovation of the nearby Straub Honda building into the college's Applied Technology Center. Lippiello said the overall $3.88 million project is on schedule with the ATC building expected to be complete in March or April and the bookstore/student center to be finished in May or June. The college purchased the Market Street parcels for $1.05 million from the Ohio County Development Authority. The OCDA previously completed a land swap of sorts with Straub, which moved its car dealership to property at the Highlands.
The Applied Technology Center will house the school's industrial maintenance, heating ventilation and air conditioning and other classes. Both buildings are situated near the college's main B&O Building and its renovated education center, which was a former grocery warehouse.