BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) — The former Virginia Intermont College campus is in disrepair. Broken glass, shattered windows, and overgrown grass can be found across campus.
The campus is now the Virginia Business College, which has never opened. The owner of the new college is based in China.
Bristol, Virginia Vice Mayor Neal Osborne says he wants the city to get this place out of its current condition.
“We can apply pressure on the company to address the state of the campus and the buildings themselves,” Osborne said.
Virginia Business College is owned by U.S. Magis International. College president Gene Couch says he has submitted renovation plans to the principal of U.S. Magis, Zhiting Zhang, who lives in China, but those plans are uncertain.
“I’ve presented a plan to him about what he would need to do and how to move forward and he hasn’t responded to that plan,” Couch said.
Any improvements on campus depend on Zhang’s investment. Meanwhile, Couch says the campus has been the victim of severe vandalism. There is also visible roof damage.
“There have to be an investment to repair some broken windows, and to re-secure some buildings and to dry in some buildings,” Couch said.
Osborne says the city could pursue those much-needed renovations through building codes.
“We’ve had discussions about the state of the campus from a code enforcement standpoint because it’s unsafe to sit the way it is,” Osborne said.
Renovations would require a significant investment, Osbourne said. If those renovations are not made by U.S. Magis International, then Osborne wants to see them sell the campus.
“Whether it ends up being Virginia Business College or another college or university comes in and maybe purchases it if the company’s willing to sell it, that would be interesting from a city standpoint,” he said.
Osborne says turning the historic buildings on campus into apartments could be another option if Magis sells the property.
However, the future of the campus remains uncertain.
“I really don’t know what the future is for the college,” Couch said. “It’s really up to our principal investor if things move forward with the college.”
Couch said the Virginia Business College is certified through September of this year by the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia, but it never received any accreditation.
Osbourne says the city has looked into federal grants to assist with renovations.