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Wytheville Community College announced this week that it will seek a one-year lease extension to utilize space at Crossroads Institute in Galax.
“Many people think that WCC owns the Crossroads Institute building, but that is not true,” said WCC President Charlie White. “The college only leases space there.”
Because WCC does not own the property, state guidelines require that the college seek competing proposals from other possible leasors at the end of a lease term to ensure that taxpayers receive best value for lease price paid.
WCC began leasing 40,641 square feet of space at Crossroads Institute in June 2005. The original lease was for three years and contained one three-year renewal options.
The current lease term ends in June.
The college issued a request for proposals in September to solicit offers from potential sites in the Twin County region. The process did not generate enough responses to yield information required for a competitive market analysis, and a lease award was not made.
As a result, WCC has requested assistance of the real estate division of the Virginia Department of General Services to conduct a competitive market analysis before entering into a longer lease.
The department will use established brokerage service contracts to solicit competing proposals for space to meet needs of the college. This will be accomplished by the department initiating its own request for proposals process.
The Department of General Services will work with WCC to write a facility lease that meets the college’s needs by: soliciting proposals utilizing brokerage services, reviewing space use, comparing lease rates of similar property types and negotiating lease terms and pricing.
Security, accessibility, and an environment that is conducive to an educational setting will also be considered.
“In light of limited state funding and the recent economic downturn, WCC has a responsibility to taxpayers to ensure that WCC is getting the best possible value for the space that we lease in this area,” said Crystal Cregger, vice president of finance and administrative services.
“Another important part of the procurement process is to make sure that all leasors in the region have a fair opportunity to submit proposals for competing proprieties.”
WCC will seek a one-year lease extension with Crossroads Institute to allow time for the procurement process to be carried out.
WCC bases three programs at the Galax location —practical nursing, construction technology, and truck driver training. Many other general education courses are offered there as well. And the college provides registration, counseling, and other services.
About 6 percent of the college’s total enrollment is from classes offered at the Galax site.
“WCC’s commitment to the Twin County area is significant,” White said. “Having a satellite location in this part of our service region is an important part of providing greater access for students to attend classes closer to their homes.
“ WCC is fully committed to providing educational opportunities in the Twin County area. Assistance from DGS’ real estate division is key to getting a new facility lease into place.”