SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College prepares to move to the West Virginia Regional Technology Park, officials for both are excited by what that means for each other.
The school will move to Building 2000 in the tech park this June. Classes will begin there in the fall.
Having a community college --and a trained workforce -- is likely to draw new businesses to the tech park, KVCTC President Joseph Badgley said.
"Part of what community colleges do is grow the workforce and attract business and industry," he said. "If I'm a person out there and I'm being courted to locate in the tech park and someone tells me that there's a community and technical college right there in the middle of the tech park, that's going to make a huge difference to me."
For the community college, moving into Building 2000 means a space newly-renovated to suit the needs of the students and faculty. The new building will have around 30,000 more square feet than the school's old campus, located at West Virginia State University in Institute.
There will be room for the school to expand the number of students in classes.
"We'll occupy the south and the west wings of the building," Badgley said. "It's being designed to meet the needs of community college students -- labs aimed at the teaching of those skills that employers need, open computer labs in the morning when we open until night when we close."
When it was located at West Virginia State University, the school went by the name West Virginia State Community and Technical College. In 2008, state lawmakers passed separated the state's community colleges from their four-year institutions.
Phil Halstead, the tech park's executive director, said having the school there is a good thing for everyone involved.
"It will be good for the industrial tenants already in the park and future occupants to have these students in the park," Halstead said.
Bridgemont Community and Technical College is already teaching diesel classes in the park and looking to add more classes, Halstead said.
The college will bring 1,700 students plus staff, which will have an impact on local businesses and restaurants in South Charleston, Mayor Frank Mullens said.
"It's a good thing for South Charleston, there's no doubt about it," Mullens said.
Community and technical colleges can have a major impact on the local and state economy because they train the workforce with the skills that employers are looking for, Badgely said. Community colleges prepare workers with middle skills -- which are one step above what a career and technical school offers and below what is offered at a four-year college.