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Area residents, along with alumni and supporters of Bluefield State College, should mark the dates of Aug. 16, 17 and 18 on their calendars. It marks the “Big Blue Experience Weekend,” three days of activities that will culminate with the long-awaited groundbreaking on two separate on-campus dorms.

Called Heritage Village, the initial college dorms, or “quads,” will house about 30 students each and will be constructed in the lower parking lot at the Harris-Jefferson Student Center. The student center will be “dovetailed” into the project and see renovations to better accommodate the students, according to BSC Interim President Robin Capehart.

Once completed, this will be the first on-campus housing at Bluefield State in more than 50 years. The plan is to ultimately construct four quads that will provide on-campus housing for 140 students.

The college has already received five letters of interest from contractors for the project.

“I believe we have five really good firms that have expressed an interest,” Capehart told the Daily Telegraph last week. “They will have to be looked at for their qualifications” and will be reviewed by the Collegiate Housing Corporation of Bluefield, which was formed to oversee construction as well as operations of the dorms. By July 31, we will basically have an idea of exactly what they will look and how much they cost and that allows us to launch the fundraising effort to help support it.”

The total project will consist of four quads estimated to have a price tag of about $12 million. Capehart said the college will also start a fundraising campaign for $1.25 million, with part of that money for the dorms. When plans for the housing were announced earlier this year, Capehart said at the time that the college was “very confident” to have about $8 million of that total.

The groundbreaking for the new dorms will be held at 2 p.m. on Aug. 17.

Earlier in the day, at 10 a.m., the library will be the site for a rededication ceremony and the placement of the new name for the library, which will be the William B. Robertson Library. Robertson will be on hand for the ceremony.

Robertson was educated at Bluefield State and went on to a distinguished career, including serving in an executive capacity with the U.S. Department of State, and being appointed to then-President Richard Nixon’s committee on mental retardation, traveling to more than 50 nations during that time. Gerald Ford made him director of the Peace Corps for Kenya and the Seychelles and he kept that position during the term of Jimmy Carter; he worked for Ronald Reagan as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; and George H. W. Bush appointed him to the Take Pride in America Committee and made him co-chair of the Federal Task Force on Disabilities.

Following that ceremony, and before the groundbreaking, the 125th anniversary luncheon for BSC Alumni will be held at David’s Downtown Restaurant in the Bluefield Arts Center at noon. The luncheon will also launch the quasquicentennial anniversary of BSC’s founding in 1895.

Other events also on tap include the BSC Night at the Ballpark program on Friday, Aug. 16, where everyone will be invited to Bowen Field to watch the Blue Jays play. The weekend will culminate with the first annual “Big Blue Bash” in the Shott Physical Education parking lot. The bash will feature live music from multiple bands, games and the opportunity for current BSC students to register for prizes.

These are certainly exciting times for Bluefield State College.

We hope everyone can be a part of the “Big Blue Experience Weekend” festivities. And we are particularly excited to see the start of construction on the new on-campus dorms. 

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