571ad7498a9f1.image

Bluefield Daily Telegraph | April 23, 2016

ATHENS — The renovation of Towers Residence Halls at Concord University is underway, and a “groundbreaking” ceremony on Friday afternoon in Athens gave public notice to the massive effort to upgrade the 48-year-old structures.

“It feels absolutely wonderful,” Concord President Kendra Boggess said. “I think we’ve got to the point where our board has been pushing for us to get going. We had to do the financing and we are just thrilled to be able to do this. The students are excited. It’s going to be a total renovation.”

Concord Student Government Association President Ronni Wood said students were a part of the upgrade process. “We actually voted on the exterior of the building, what we wanted it to look like,” Wood said. “We voted to choose an exterior that looked similar to the rest of the buildings. Where as right now, we have the kind of rocky exterior, when the rest of the buildings have the brick. We voted on something that looked like it fit in with the rest of the school.”

Scaffolding is already up on one of the exterior walls of the two eight-story residence halls, the tallest buildings in northern Mercer County with a floor space of 173,500 square feet.

The total project cost for construction and renovation is $16.2 million, and the job is expected to be finished by the end of 2017.

Designed by Charleston-based Silling Architects, the exterior renovation will include demolition of the wall panels; thermal-moisture protection; and new windows and roofs. Inside, the project includes new interior finishes; new bathrooms; upgrades in mechanical and electrical systems including the addition of air conditioning in the rooms; and a “state-of-the-art Wi-Fi network.”

The construction has been financed by revenue bond sales that were separate from the yearly appropriations to public higher education. Those appropriations have been sliced for several years due to revenue shortfalls at the state level.

Repayment of the bonds will come from a portion of students’ rent for living in the residence halls for the next 30 years, said Rick Dillon, vice president of administration and associate dean of students at Concord.

The “groundbreaking” was the first event in a two-day Concord Founders’ Day Festival.