With no dissenting votes, West Virginia University’s Board of Governors on Tuesday (Sept. 1) authorized all actions necessary to make sure that WVU Beckley will be the new home of the West Virginia University Institute of Technology beginning in fall 2017.
A full complement of freshman classes will be offered in fall 2016 at WVU Beckley, and with today’s decision all WVU Tech academic programs, including its outstanding engineering program, will move to the Beckley campus in 2017. Athletic teams will remain at WVU Tech until the move to WVU Beckley in 2017.
Current WVU Tech students will be able to complete their degrees at the Montgomery or Beckley campus, located 45 minutes from Montgomery, through a Teach Out program that will be submitted to the Higher Learning Commission for approval.
Follow this link to read about the vision for the Beckley campus.
“With the purchase of the former Mountain State University campus in Beckley, the decision by our Board to transition WVU Tech to WVU Beckley is the best and only way for West Virginia University to continue serving the students of West Virginia effectively and efficiently,” said WVU President Gordon Gee.
“This decision is pivotal in ensuring the continued success of WVU Tech, as well as the future of our state.”
With facilities on the Montgomery campus requiring an estimated $100 million in deferred maintenance and an enrollment well short of the 1,800 goal set several years ago, Carolyn Long, campus president at Tech and Beckley said: “The decision by our administrations and our Board was not an easy one, but this move is necessary to provide WVU Tech with the best chance to survive and thrive.”
Follow this link for an FAQ.
Board Chair Tom Flaherty said WVU and Tech officials spent nearly a year assessing both campuses with the goal of determining what would best serve the students of West Virginia.
“The Board performed a substantial amount of due diligence before reaching this decision,” Flaherty said. “Providing an affordable and accessible education for more students in our state was foremost on our minds.”
He added, “Realistically, when you consider the overwhelming facility improvements needed at Tech, the approximately $14 million WVU has spent over the past several years to cover the operational shortfalls in Tech’s budget, the services WVU provides for no additional cost to Tech – from legal and human resources functions to payroll and financial aid packaging – it became obvious that the current model is simply not sustainable.”
Follow this link to read the resolution adopted Sept. 1 by the WVU Board of Governors.
Provost Joyce McConnell said in addition to the academic programs offered at Tech, WVU Beckley will focus on strategic programs designed to meet the needs of the area, citing tourism and hospitality, culinary arts, nursing and allied health fields, adventure recreation leadership and management, entrepreneurship, information technology and construction management among them.
Teaching will comprise face-to-face teaching, strategically selected online courses and hybrid courses that combine face-to-face with online learning, she added. Residential students also will benefit from learning communities that combine academics with student life programming. All students will benefit from WVU’s Adventure West Virginia program and Project 168 student success programming, among others.
Follow this link to read a letter from a WVU Tech student.
“I truly believe that relocating Tech to the Beckley campus will allow Tech to continue its legacy of providing crucial educational programming in new and innovative ways,” McConnell said. “It will also lead to greater efficiencies, cost savings, opportunities for collaboration and, most importantly, increased and enhanced educational opportunities for those seeking a WVU world-class education.”
Follow this link to read Sen. Joe Manchin’s statement about the decision. Follow this link to read the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission statement about the decision.
In addition, WVU is committed to assisting the city leaders of Montgomery in finding a new purpose for the current campus. The institution is willing to help fund an economic assessment study to further determine the opportunities and partnerships that might be developed.
At today’s meeting, time was allotted for those in support and opposition to the move to speak, including elected officials from the region.
Community, business and industry leaders from the Beckley region have been supportive of WVU’s new campus in Beckley – whether discussing student housing opportunities, restaurants, entertainment options or merchandise outlets, according to officials.
During the next year, WVU will be working to rebrand the campus, establish health care for students, develop a workforce to offer student services and programming, finalize fiber and wireless technology infrastructure, and assign classroom and office space, among other activities.
Follow this link to read a letter from a WVU Tech alumnus.
WVU estimates that $11.8 million will be spent on improvements to the infrastructure at WVU Beckley over the next 10 years (electrical work, HVAC systems, plumbing, information technology needs, laboratory upgrades, etc.). Approximately $3.5 million of that amount will be completed over the next three years. The remaining work is anticipated to be completed between 2018-2024 and will be funded by revenues of the campus.
WVU completed the purchase of the former Mountain State University campus for $8 million in June, following an extensive eight-month review.
In 2011, the Legislature created the WVU Institute of Technology Revitalization Project to conduct a study of Tech and develop a revitalization plan, which included such recommendations as increasing enrollment to 1,800 (enrollment has ranged from 1,107 to 1,306 since 2012) and making capital improvements requiring a minimum state investment of $30 million over five years.
Follow this link to read a letter from WVU Tech’s representative on the WVU Board of Governors.
In 2012, the WVU Tech Revitalization Committee was formed to move the campus forward, and it recommended increasing the estimate to $43.5 million and asking for an initial infusion of $7.8 million for critical campus infrastructure needs.
Since 2007, $26 million in capital improvements have been made at Tech with funding from WVU ($8.3 million), HEPC ($6.1 million), state funds ($11.2 million) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ($465,000). Despite these investments, the deferred maintenance costs are now estimated at more than $100 million.
In addition to capital expenditures, WVU has provided more than $14 million in operating costs alone in the last five years.
CONTACT: Becky Lofstead; University Relations
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