Kerley and Jo Ellen Reed, BCTC's community liaison, yesterday accepted a donation valued at $20,400 from Red River Hardwoods that includes all materials, installation and labor to complete the college's conference room.
"They said â??Show us what you're doing, tell us what the school can do for the community," Reed said about their response when asked to help. "'We believe in education, we're in.'"
The generosity of the company's owners, Henry and Sandy Pettit of Clay City, typifies the support the community has demonstrated since the inception of the project, Reed said. Of the nearly $6 million needed, more than $1.7 million was given by local individuals, groups and companies via cash donations and pledges.
"It's just out of the pocketbooks of this community. That's what's been given," Reed said. "We want a viable community and a strong work force, and the way to get that is through education."
Work completed to date includes the building pad being staked out, the construction entrance being completed, the parking lot and retention ponds being excavated, the job site trailer being delivered, and top soil stripping being nearly completed.
Reed said unusually warm November weather has helped the general contractor, James R. Leake & Son of Richmond, move forward at a rapid pace.
"They are working five days a week and making tremendous progress," she said. "Right now we're ahead in several areas and cautiously optimistic that we can open in January 2008."
The last BCTC campus to be built was in the mid-1990s in Danville. Kerley said Winchester made a great place to build the next one, having "outgrown by far" the College Park location. There are 541 students enrolled there this year.
By the 2008 spring semester, the new campus should be able to accommodate 1,200 to 1,500 students. The two-story building under construction will include 12 classrooms, two biology and chemistry labs and an early childhood care facility.