College hosts historic groundbreaking, William B. Robertson Library dedication | News

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BLUEFIELD — Amidst a cheering crowd, Bluefield State College officially broke ground for their on-campus housing during the Heritage Hall Groundbreaking Ceremony, on Saturday.

With the 1969 class being the last class to have on-campus housing, students have had to resort to other places to stay. With the on-campus living facilities, which will be entitled Heritage Hall, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, and college officials are hoping that more students will enroll.

“For reasons that we hope and pray will never descend on our campus again, these dormitories were closed in November of 1968, leaving students stranded in the cold of winter, while still facing the academic challenges of a rigorous course load,”  Bluefield State College president Robin Capehart said.

According to Dr. John Vernon, a member of the class of 1969, the dormitories located on Bluefield State College were destroyed after a student set off a bomb.

“I was studying in my room on the side of the P.E. building when a student ran up and knocked on our door and told  me that a bomb was in the building and all the students needed to assemble by the student center,” Vernon said, “The bomb did indeed go off, and with it, a terrible boom and bricks and rocks fell everywhere.”

After the bombing of the dorm, the dorms on the college grounds were not offered again. With students forced to live off-campus, commuting by car, bike, foot or public transportation were the only options.

According to Capehart, the college’s goal is to “pursue the construction of both on and off-campus housing,” as well as necessary services such as food and recreation. The food service and lounge areas will be provided in the renovation of the student center according to Capehart.

“Over the next few weeks, you’ll see the surveying that’s necessary before dirt begins to fly in October,” Capehart said, “Our goal is to have on-campus housing before the fall of 2020.”

Also occurring on Saturday, the college renamed the on-campus library to the William B. Robertson Library. Robertson graduated with two bachelor’s degrees in secondary education in 1954, and elementary education in 1956. Robertson also served in administrative duties for five United States presidents.

During the naming ceremony, The Robertson collection was on display on the first and second floors of the library.

— Contact Emily D. Coppola at

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