WHEELING - As part of the ongoing expansion of its downtown campus, West Virginia Northern Community College officials broke ground Thursday morning for the $2.1 million renovation of the former Straub Hyundai building into the new Barnes & Noble bookstore and Student Union.
"By pairing an expanded Barnes & Noble bookstore and a larger space for students to gather, we believe West Virginia Northern is providing the internal and external college community in Wheeling and an exciting new meeting and shopping place," Martin J. Olshinsky, WVNCC president, said. "We are growing, and so is the city."
The renovation will be conducted by Trushel Construction Co. of Weirton, the successful low bidder on the project. Steve Lippiello, WVNCC's vice president of administrative services, said the college expects construction to start by mid-October with a completion anticipated in June.
Photo by Sarah Harmon
West Virginia Northern Community College President Martin J. Olshinsky addresses officials and guests at the groundbreaking ceremony of the $2.1 million renovation of the former Straub Hyundai building, which is to become a Barnes & Noble bookstore and Student Union.
The building was designed by SMG Architects of Wheeling.
Architect Victor Greco said the building was designed to fit with the historic B&O Building that serves as the headquarters of West Virginia Northern Community College's Wheeling campus.
"As the applied technology center gets completed, we're going to also apply materials similar to this so all these buildings together will look like a campus," Greco said. "We're throwing in a couple of elements - you'll notice on the rendering there's a big clock tower, and that is traditionally what the Italians did in plazas to demarcate a space where people can gather. It also recalls the lookout tower for the railroad station at the B&O, so we're trying to pull in some of that history."
Greco said in addition to the bookstore and student lounge, the building will also provide indoor and outdoor seating and bicycle racks. The bookstore and cafe will be open to the public.
The building is located across 16th Street from the former Straub Honda building currently under renovation. The Honda building will be the future Applied Technology Center and will house the school's industrial maintenance, heating ventilation and air conditioning classes. Lippiello said the construction of that building is "close to being halfway done with much work now occurring on the roof" and it is expected to be completed in March or April.
The college purchased the Straub properties last February for $1.05 million from the Ohio County Development Authority. The OCDA had previously completed a land swap of sorts with Straub, which moved its car dealership to The Highlands.