The Times West Virginian

Local News

June 19, 2014

Construction of Pierpont’s North Central Advanced Technology Center ‘going very well’: PHOTOS

FAIRMONT — Members of an advisory board put on their hard hats and toured the construction site of Pierpont Community & Technical College’s future North Central Advanced Technology Center at the I-79 Technology Park.

Members were able to see the building’s progression up to this point and get an idea of what the finished product will look like.

“The project is going very well,” said Blaine McVicker, clerk of the works for the Higher Education Policy Commission. “We’re running right now between 20 and 25 personnel on site. So far, the steel has gone up very well. The concrete’s going in the ground very well. We’ve had a few small challenges, but we got through those very quickly, and I think the project is running very smoothly.”

The project is run by Nello, a general contractor out of Washington, Pennsylvania, and it operates on an $18 million budget.

Construction began on the 58,000-square-foot, three-story facility in October.

The frigid winter months and spring rain slowed the project some, but McVicker told the advisory board that construction should be finished in time for the facility to open in fall 2015.

“It’s a very beautiful building, so we’re very proud of it so far,” he said.

The building has several radius walls in its layout, which is architecturally very unique, McVicker said.

There will also be many windows that will bring in natural light and a view of the trees and hills below.

“I think the community didn’t know if the building actually would occur, and now to see it going up again is really a beacon of hope up there on the hillside. (Workers) have done an outstanding job,” said Pierpont’s president, Doreen Larson. “The building will be everything they’ve expected and more.”

The project is part of a statewide initiative that has already helped build a similar technology center in the southern part of the state in hopes that these facilities can focus on the industry needs in the regions they serve, said Dale Bradley, vice president for Administration and Finance at Pierpont.

“The one in the southern part of the state has actually been built and is getting ready to be opened,” he said. “Ours is a little behind that facility. It’s part of the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia’s facilities, and Pierpont, as the community and technical college in this region, will be the primary operator of the building.”

The facility will house an advanced technology center, Pierpont’s allied health programs and its student services center.

It will allow the college to expand its workforce program, including the allied health program, and to have more flexibility in its schedule, Larson said.

“Right now, we’re on the campus with Fairmont State, and it’s hard for us to offer classes on any kind of a flexible schedule for six days a week or in pressed modules,” she said. “This building is meant to do that. It’s meant to run at least six days a week. It’s meant to have modules that are like block scheduling so someone could have an afternoon job and go to school only in the morning, go five days a week, all of that. So that’s what’s really going to allow us to have students complete programs in much less than two years and go right out to work. That’s what we’re really excited about.”

Email Chelsi Baker at cbaker@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @cbakerTWV.

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