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WVNCC Breaks Ground

WHEELING - West Virginia Northern Community College officials Wednesday kicked off a $3.88 million project to again expand their downtown Wheeling campus.

Officials broke ground to renovate the former Straub car dealership properties into a new Applied Technology Center. Located in downtown Wheeling, the college purchased the Market Street parcels last August for $1.05 million from the Ohio County Development Authority. The OCDA had previously completed a land swap of sorts with Straub, which moved its car dealership to property at The Highlands.

The Honda building will house the school’s industrial maintenance, heating ventilation and air conditioning, and other classes. It is situated near the college’s main B&O Building and renovated Education Center, which was a former grocery warehouse.

Interior demolition-related work is expected to begin the week of May 21 by DeSalvo Construction Co. of Hubbard, Ohio, which officials said was the lowest of eight bidders on the project. The project was designed by SMG Architects of Wheeling. It is expected to be complete in March.

Renovation work of another parcel, the former Straub Hyundai building located across 16th Street from the Honda building, is expected to be bid out at the end of June. That building will house a Barnes & Noble bookstore and cafe on the first floor. A second story will be added to the building to house a student activity center. The bookstore and cafe will be open to the public.

WVNCC President Martin Olshinsky said the college worked diligently with county officials to get the property deal done. He said the renovation of the property is also part of the school’s plan to help spur growth in the city.

"This is an exciting day for the college. This facility will offer state-of-the-art classrooms and tools to teach industrial maintenance technology, welding and similar trades to benefit the area students," Olshinsky said.

 Architect Victor Greco said he was excited about the project and that the college is reusing an older building.

 "This used to be a theater," Greco said of the former Honda building. "We’re retaining the old tin ceilings, and the decorative columns will be restored."