CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia University’s president won’t say whether WVU’s Institute of Technology will remain in Montgomery as WVU moves forward with its offer to purchase the defunct Mountain State University campus in Beckley.
“Obviously I’m not going to say, ‘Yes we’re going to move,’ or ‘No, we’re not going to move,” Gee said. “What it is … is the fact that we’re really trying to explore ‘What are the best options?’ But the Mountain State opportunity does give us alternatives, which are very important.”
The two campuses are roughly 40 miles apart with driving time of about one hour.
About 1,200 students attend WVU Tech.
The University of Charleston, which has been operating Mountain State’s campuses in Beckley and Martinsburg, reported more than 660 students enrolled in those campuses and online.
In Montgomery, WVU Tech’s campus is perched on the side of a steep hill within walking distance of the city’s Amtrak station and main commercial corridor.
Mayor Jim Higgins said the loss of the school would be the “worst-case scenario” for the city, with the biggest hit being in employment.
“It would definitely have an impact,” Higgins said of a possible closure, later adding, “They provide for a lot of people in this area.”
Higgins said he doesn’t believe local businesses would be overly affected, saying the city’s business and occupation tax revenue remains relatively unchanged year-round, including when students are on break.
Gee said the future existence of WVU Tech is “very secure,” but exactly where the school will be and in what form is up for discussion.