by Kate Shunney
A high-tech quality control training lab installed by Proctor & Gamble at The Pines Opportunity Center in Berkeley Springs two years ago could become part of the space leased to Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, county officials said last week.
The county’s lease with Proctor & Gamble, the manufacturing company with a new facility in Inwood, ran out June 30, 2019. The company built and used the space at The Pines to train Quality Control employees to work in their new plant while final plant construction was underway.
Morgan County Commissioners voted last Wednesday, July 10, to have Commission President Joel Tuttle move ahead with negotiations to add the empty lab and associated offices to the space already occupied by Blue Ridge CTC and their programs.
The community college is paying the county $6.50 per square foot per year to rent 11,000 square feet of the former county hospital building.
According to Tuttle, Blue Ridge officials would like to create a single lease under which they would rent their current space, plus the Proctor & Gamble wing. The college had asked the county to drop its cost per square foot in exchange for taking a larger part of the former hospital building.
Commissioners agreed to move ahead with negotiations at a rate of $6.25 per square foot for a total of 21,000 square feet under a five-year lease. Tuttle said college officials are interested in two five-year renewal options, making the lease a potential 15-year agreement. There would be a 2% escalator clause in the lease, meaning the rent amount would go up a small amount each year of the multi-year lease.
Under the first year of a five-year lease with a reduced rent, Blue Ridge would pay the county $10,937.50 per month, or $131,250 for the year, for renting the top floor of the building.
County officials agreed to have such a lease prepared and reviewed by attorney Richard Gay.
The agreement, if approved, would make Blue Ridge CTC the sole tenant for the entire first floor of the former county hospital. The ground floor of the building is home to the Morgan County Health Department and Day Report Center, the WVU Extension Service and several smaller offices.