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Construction begins on new NCI building

May 14, 2013

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Construction has started on the New College Institute's new building on the Baldwin Block uptown.

The three-story, roughly 50,000-square-foot building will house educational programs that NCI is developing in entrepreneurism, advanced manufacturing and health care technology, plus employee offices and public event space.

It will be the first building erected specifically for the institute.

"With all of the rain lately, it's been hard to get the construction started," but finally it is under way, said NCI Executive Director William Wampler.

Construction is expected to be finished next May if weather in the future causes no major delays, Wampler said.

Most of the site preparation work has been completed. Concrete for the building's foundation now is being poured.

The general contractor, New Atlantic Contracting Inc. of Winston-Salem, N.C., hired Boxley, a local company, to handle the concrete installation.

"A lot of concrete is going into the building ... hundreds of thousands of dollars" worth, Wampler said to his understanding.

Throughout the construction process, people will see Boxley trucks going in and out of the construction site, he said.

New Atlantic aims to hire as many local firms as possible as subcontractors, he added.

Steel for the building's frame has been ordered but it probably will not be delivered to the site until near the end of June, according to Wampler.

Weather permitting, the building's frame and floors should start to take shape after July 4, he said.

New Atlantic's construction bid of $13,289,000 was the lowest of eight submitted by contractors. Bids ranged up to $14,047,000.

The New College Foundation, the institute's private fundraising arm, recently awarded the construction contract to New Atlantic after having the firm's bid reviewed to make sure it complied with all specifications for the building.

So far, there have been no major change orders, Wampler said, only a few small ones - such as moving a door or a closet, or changing a type of light fixture - to make the building more functional.

NCI has obtained more than $15.2 million in commitments for funds to help cover the cost of construction, equipment and furnishings for the building.

Those commitments include up to $8 million from The Harvest Foundation, as well as $5 million from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, $1.75 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and $500,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Although the latter grant has been announced by the state, it still must be ratified by the commission, comprised mostly of governors of the 13 states - including Virginia - which are members, Wampler said. He said he expects the ratification to come "at any time" within the next 30 days.

Also, Commonwealth Laminating & Coating has committed $100,000. That is the only corporate donation so far announced for the project as part of an ongoing $2 million "Building on Baldwin" fundraising campaign.

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