WCC: Ashe Campus construction

Construction of the steel beams for the WCC: Ashe Campus expansion project started on Oct. 24 and is expected to be completed by Nov. 20.

WEST JEFFERSON — The Building and Grounds Committee of the Wilkes Community College Board of Trustees recently approved the full building construction contract for the WCC: Ashe Campus expansion project, awarding the contract to Vannoy Construction, according to WCC Vice President of Workforce Development Chris Robinson.

Since breaking ground in August, phase one of site development for the estimated $12-million project is a little more than 50 percent complete, according to Robinson. Structural steel for the building’s frame began construction on Oct. 24 and should be completed on Nov. 20, he added.

“The project is currently on schedule and proceeding nicely,” Robinson said. “Thus far, the weather has cooperated overall and has allowed us to move at a steady pace and on schedule.”

With the WCC Board of Trustees’ approval of the construction contract, Vannoy Construction will be managing the overall expansion project as a construction manager at risk. Through this contracting method, Vannoy Construction has provided a guaranteed maximum price of $10.77 million for the building and alternates.

“With design fees, soil testing fees and state required contingency of 3 percent, we are at $11.9M for the building itself,” Robinson said.”This does not include any equipment, which is part of the focus of our ongoing capital campaign.”

The ongoing capital campaign is focused on providing funds for equipment for the new building once its completed, as well as possible renovations for the existing building. In total, the campaign’s goal is to raise $1 million, Robinson said. Recently, WCC announced that SkyLine/SkyBest donated $50,000 for the campaign.

Of the project’s estimated $12 million cost, $8 million has been provided by the Ashe County Board of Commissioners, $3 million from state bond money and the remaining $1 million through the capital campaign. Robinson said the cost of equipping the building is expected to reach $750,000.

“We’ve got the building, now we just need to get the equipment,” Robinson said. “Based on current projections, we feel confident that we will be able to complete the full project within budget, including the new shop area and the new cosmetology facility.”

The two-story, 36,000-square-foot expansion will feature new computer labs, more classroom space, a healthcare simulation lab and other cutting-edge technology for students, according to a release from WCC. The expansion will also include a separate cosmetology wing, an outdoor learning area and a 1,400-square-foot meeting space for the community to reserve.

“It’s been fun to watch the building start to rise from the ground and know what it means for Ashe County’s future,” Robinson said.

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