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.”
• In other commission news: The county issued a proclamation for “BCARSE Week.” Whereas the Boone County Association of Retired School Employees (BCARSE) was founded as an autonomous, self-governing volunteer membership organization including and promoting the interests of all school retirees; Whereas BCARSE currently represents 443 retirees in Boone County and is the only organization that represents all retired school employees; Whereas the members of the BCARSE contributed more than 32,943 volunteer hours in the year 2011-2012; Whereas BCARSE promotes community service, legislation to benefit retirees, remembering retirees in illness and honoring retirees in death, establishing a scholarship program for a Boone County student promoting community among retired school employees; Therefore, we, the Boone County Commission do hereby proclaim the last week of September 2012 as “Boone County Association of Retired School Employees Week.”
• The county changed the scope of a community participation grant to use funding to fix a leaky and deteriorating roof at the Boone County Coal Museum on Main Street in Madison. The scope of the grant needed changed to allow for the roof repairs.
• Officials with the Foster Neighborhood Crime Watch asked the commission to look at cleaning the Foster Community Center and having new keys issued to the facility. They claimed the building was unclean and too many keys had been issued. The commission agreed to look into the concerns and said that a new cleaning person had been hired to clean the facility.
• The county is trying to get a company to take over the cable television service in the areas of Boone County that the Armstrong Company will be discontinuing as of Sept. 5, 2012. Talks with several companies and individuals are taking place so that those customers would be able to have cable television services without interruption.
• Terry Martin with the Regional Intergovernmental Council updated the commission on several water and sewer projects including the Mud River/Cox’s Fork, Morrisvale/Cameo and Joe’s Creek projects.
• The Boone County Public Service District announced that it has received approval from the West Virginia Public Service Commission for an 18 percent rate increase. The county PSD had requested a 27 percent increase due to being under the limit in its bond coverage and increased costs of 45 percent over the last three years. The rate increase is due to go into effect sometime in October of this year.
• Larry Greene reported a $1.024.80 regional jail bill credit for Boone County after an audit of July’s jail bill.
• The commission approved the closure of an alley in Wharton after a public hearing received no complaints or concerns over the proposed closure. The commission said it would issue an order closing the alley.
• The county hired a part-time clerk in the county clerk’s office and also a part-time janitor for the Danville and Madison community centers.