Fred PaceHeartland News Service
September 6, 2012
MADISON – Officials with Southern West Virginia Community & Technical College approached the Boone County Commission last week about its plans to expand its facilities in Boone County.
“We are interested in land near the Boone County Transfer Station just off Corridor G (U.S. 119),” said Bill Cook, the college’s director of operations. “We would be interested in a partnership with the county or to maybe even purchase the property to expand our facilities.”
The college has a Boone Campus at the Boone Career and Technical Center in Danville, near Foster on state Rt. 3, but needs more room to accommodate its increasing enrollments.
“Our Boone County Campus is maxed out,” said college president and West Virginia First Lady Joanne Tomblin, who also attended the commission meeting. “We are seeing more and more students coming in from the Kanawha Valley and we must look down the road at expanding in Boone County as a big part of our future plans.”
Tomblin said this would be a great opportunity for both the college and the county.
“We think our expansion will also provide great economic opportunities for Boone County as well,” she said. “This is a win-win for the college and the Boone County community.”
Southern was recently named one of the top community and technical colleges in the nation.
“With our facilities in Logan and Williamson as well as the great success of our mine academy, we believe there are tremendous educational and economic opportunities for us to expand,” Tomblin explained. “We would like to meet with you and your economic development team to share ideas and see what the next steps might be toward our expansion goals.”
Tomblin added that there were no plans to shut down the current Boone County Campus, even after any expansion project was completed.
“We have no plans to shut down the current campus in Boone County,” she said. “We want to keep it as well as expanding in Boone County at the location we have mentioned.”
Boone County Commission President Mickey Brown called the college’s expansion proposal “thrilling news.”
“We would be thrilled and happy to work with the college to expand into Boone County,” Brown said. “The educational opportunities offered by Southern West Virginia Community & Technical College are wonderful and to expand on those opportunities is something we can all get excited about.”
Boone Commissioner Eddie Hendricks, who is an educator at Van High School, said he also supports the college’s plan to expand in Boone County.
“Our new age of technology has made technical schools like Southern vitally important to students and those seeking to further their education or re-train in another career path,” he said. “This is a tremendous opportunity and I support it 100 percent.”
The commission asked college officials to first meet with the county’s economic development official Larry V. Lodato for an initial assessment of the 11-acre piece of property.
“We would start with appraising the property and then look at the various options for the county and the college,” Lodato said. “I am very excited to getting started right away on this plan.”