Groundbreaking Kicks off Student Housing Development for Southwest Students

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    Photo of Groundbreaking

    CEDAR BLUFF, VA — Student housing is becoming a reality as Southwest Virginia Community College (Southwest) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, February 8. The development will be the first student housing for any community college in Virginia.

    State and local officials joined Southwest President, Dr. Tommy Wright, and members of the board of the [Southwest] Educational Foundation, Inc. to celebrate the start of construction for a housing development exclusive to students attending Southwest.

    The first phase consists of one building that features six four-bedroom apartments and can house up to 48 students in total. Additional buildings will be considered based on student need and available funding. The development is located on Steelsburg Highway in Cedar Bluff, Virginia, directly across from the college. The land is owned by the Southwest Virginia Community College Educational Foundation, Inc., which also approved the $2.5 million for the development.

    “This is the first community college student housing in Virginia and is just one more example of our commitment of making our students feel welcome, appreciated, respected, and supported in their educational journey,” said Dr. Tommy Wright, President of Southwest Virginia Community College.

    Dr. Glenn DuBois, Chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, had this to say, “A lot of other college presidents will be watching because this is the only Virginia community college with a residential component. You’ve identified a barrier, housing and transportation, and created an asset that can strengthen your mission. With steadfast focus, leadership, and innovation, you’ve done something that is unique in Virginia.”

    Dr. Tommy Wright, Dr. Glenn DuBois, Dr. N.L. Bishop, Susan Lowe

    The College anticipates students moving in by August 1, 2022, in time for the Fall 2022 semester. The rooms will be double-occupancy and each room has an attached bathroom. Each four-bedroom apartment will have a shared living room, kitchen, laundry, and deck. Kitchen appliances as well as washer and dryer are included. Rent is expected to be $600 a month, per student, which includes internet, electric, water, sewer, and trash pickup.

    Brody Caton, a student athlete who moved to the area from northern Virginia to play baseball at Southwest, said that between the price and how close it is to the college, the student housing would be a great place to live.

    Andrea Laney, a student and employee of Southwest, said that student housing will be a great resource for all students who have nowhere else to go, especially former foster youth who have aged out of the system.

    The Southwest Foundation is working with Bundy Architecture & Engineering out of Abingdon, Virginia for site and building designs, Twin Enterprises, Inc. out of Richlands, Virginia for construction, and Russell County PSA and Tazewell County for utilities.

    “This truly is a groundbreaking event for our college,” said Susan Lowe, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the Educational Foundation for Southwest Virginia Community College, “I would like to thank our state, local, college, and Foundation boards for supporting this project, as well as all of our donors who contributed to make student housing a reality. I would like to recognize our students who are the catalyst for all that we do.”

    Current plans allow for an additional three buildings. There is room to add more buildings if there is enough demand.
    Additional information about student housing for Southwest Virginia Community College can be found at https://sw.edu/edfoundation/housing/

    Among those in attendance were Virginia’s Community College (VCCS) Chancellor, Glenn DuBois, Vice Chancellor of VCCS, Dr. Ellen Davenport, state board chair, Dr. ML Bishop, members of Russell and Tazewell County Boards of Supervisors, members from Russell County PSA, members from the Southwest local college board and Southwest Educational Foundation Board, builders with Twin Enterprise, architects with Bundy Engineering, Janine Israel and Courtney Joseph representing Senator Travis Hackworth’s office, members of First Bank & Trust, community members, Southwest employees, and Southwest students.

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    Picture 1:
    Row 1
    • Andrea Laney, Southwest student and employee
    • Matt Bundy, Bundy Architecture & Engineering
    • Jason Meadows, Twin Enterprises
    • Brody Caton, Southwest student and baseball player
    • Ann Eliese, Southwest student and SGA senator
    • Skyler Vance, Southwest student, SGA senator, and Cross-Country runner
    • Dr. N.L. Bishop, Chair of the State Board for Community Colleges
    • Dr. Glenn DuBois, VCCS Chancellor
    • Sam Amos, Southwest student
    • Dr. Tommy Wright, President Southwest Virginia Community College
    • Andy Hrovatic, Tazewell County Board of Supervisors
    • Aaron Gillespie, Tazwell County Board of Supervisors
    • Bruce Russell, Southwest Local Board member
    • AJ Robinson, Southwest Local Board member
    • Lynn Keene, Southwest Educational Foundation Board member
    • David Eaton, Russell County Board of Supervisors
    • Susan Lowe, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of Educational Foundation for Southwest Virginia Community College

    Row 2
    • Courtney Joseph, Senator Travis Hackworth’s office
    • Jeneane Israel, Senator Travis Hackworth’s office
    • Dr. Robert Brandon Vice President of Academic and Student Services
    • Randall Rose, Interim Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services
    • Erin Hoffman, First Bank & Trust
    • Brent Dyson, First Bank & Trust
    • Kim Steiner, Associate Vice President of Human Resources at Southwest Virginia Community College