Also, the entire tech park campus is going completely tobacco-free starting July 1, he said.
"This is a major health move for students and faculty to be a tobacco-free environment," he said.
He said "life in the tech park has changed" since students began classes in August at the new Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College campus. The college opened Aug. 15 in Building 2000 at the tech park. The X-shaped building that once housed Union Carbide scientists and engineers had $26 million in renovations to become a regional education and research center.
"At the height of Union Carbide there were between 3,000 and 4,000 employees and now we have 2,500 people utilizing tech park buildings," Halstead said. "You'll have a hard time finding parking spaces."
In part, parking is harder to come by since employment at the tech park increased more than 13 percent last year. There are now more than 678 employees, compared to 597 at the end of 2011 on campus and 550 employees at the end of 2010, Halstead said.
In other news during the Economic Development Authority meeting, Halstead said construction on the Advantage Valley Advanced Technology Center is 25 percent completed. Construction on the facility started Aug. 1 and should be completed by October, he said.
The 50,000-square-foot, $15 million facility will offer five core academic courses that including mechatronics, instrumentation, information technology, power plant technology and chemical operators.
Mechatronics combine mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, computer engineering, software engineering and other forms of engineering to design and manufacture products.
Also, MATRIC is now occupying a pilot plant in Building 771. Pilot plants allow companies to test chemical products before bringing them to market.
"This is a huge step because it puts the plant under MATRIC control, which is going to utilize 100 percent of the plant and it's a 'bait-and-trap' to attract outsiders in the tech park," Halstead said.
South Charleston High School Principal Mike Arbogast attended Tuesday's meeting to discuss the success of the high school in the last year. Arbogast noted that the high school had "the biggest growth in ACT scores nationwide."
Arbogast also discussed how South Charleston High is the only authorized International Baccalaureate school in the state. Participating students, like Advanced Placement students, may receive college credit for their high school coursework.
"We want to push toward a 21st-century school and we have been able to do that with this program," Arbogast said. "The International Baccalaureate program is working."
Reach Megan Workman at megan.work...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.