WHEELING - Crews with DeSalvo Construction Co. of Hubbard, Ohio, have dug about a 15-foot pit on the side of the former Straub Honda building in downtown Wheeling as part of the future West Virginia Northern Community College's Applied Technology Center.
The renovation project will expand the downtown college's Wheeling campus. The large pit allowed crews to construct an elevator shaft and to build a new lobby as part of the expansion of the building, said Stephen Lippiello, WVNCC vice president of administrative services and chief financial officer.
"We needed more space. The building is going to be very heavy in mechatronics - we'll do some diesel mechanic training and some welding lab training. We just didn't have enough room for those programs, so we're expanding outward so people will have a nice lobby when they enter the building."
Lippiello said the 41-week construction project is "moving right along." DeSalvo Construction has stayed on schedule with most of the plumbing work already completed and about half the electrical work done. He predicted that WVNCC will take full occupancy of the building by mid-March once all safety measures have been met.
"Most of the demolition work at this point in time has been completed," he said. "We are into the phase of the project where walls and the formation of classrooms are starting. We'll probably begin to move into the building prior to March and start to bring in furniture."
There are still several months of work until the next phase of construction, including filling in the pit, filling and solidifying the foundation and rebuilding the exterior walls.
"Once the exterior walls are done, we'll start to work on the second story, start to form classrooms. So you'll start to see steel trusses and support beams erected to hold the weight of the second floor. Before you know it, it's going to start to look like a beautiful building."
The former Straub Hyundai building, located directly across from the construction site, also will be part of the WVNCC's campus expansion. The multi-purpose building will house a Barnes & Noble, a coffee shop and a student union. A second floor will be added to house the student union. A bid opening for that work is slated for Friday in Charleston.
"We'll know who the low bidder is and if they're a qualified company, we'll finalize a contract with them," Lippiello said. "We'll sit with them and get a schedule with time frames to start and time frames for completion."
WVNCC purchased the Straub properties last August for $1.05 million from the Ohio County Development Authority.