By JAKE JARVIS
MONTGOMERY, W.Va. — Dozens of Montgomery residents and others gathered on the West Virginia University Institute of Technology’s campus this morning to hear more details of a potential future for the school’s facilities after WVU Tech moves to Beckley later this year.
Officials with KVC Health Systems, a nonprofit group, said last week that they hoped to make the former WVU Tech campus into a college for students who have aged out of the foster care system, with support specifically designed to help those students. They would have additional mentoring programs not offered at traditional colleges and would also have access to behavioral health specialists while going to school, Tommy Bailey, a government relations specialist at Spilman Thomas and Battle who has been representing KVC Health Systems, said last week.
KVC officials hope to open the school with about 200 students. Once the school is fully operational, they hope to attract as many as 500 students. Bailey said no student will be forced to go from foster care to the college, and that the college will put an emphasis on attracting students from West Virginia before reaching out to students in other states.
Since these students won’t have family members they can visit during the holidays when most college campuses are closed, the students will live on campus every day throughout the year.
The college will hope to find additional outside money to ensure that every student can be employed and earn money. Bailey said businesses in Montgomery and Smithers should expect the students to be sent out into the community as volunteers.
On Wednesday, officials said an agreement still had not been signed, but the “agreement in principle” between WVU and KVC remained. Bailey said the two sides were working “aggressively” to iron out the details and to have a contract sign. The agreement likely will entail KVC leasing the campus for a while with the option of purchasing it down the read, officials said.
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