CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia State University's campus got about 20 percent larger Monday, with a vote by the state Board of Public Works to transfer the former state Rehabilitation Center property to the university.
"West Virginia State University is excited about obtaining this property," Melvin Jones, vice president for business and finance, said of the transfer. "This area is contiguous with our main campus, and is an ideal area for future expansion."
The acquisition adds about 19 acres to the 95-acre campus.
Opened in the 1950s, the Institute facility closed as a residential rehabilitation center in 2007, and for a time housed offices for the Division of Rehabilitation Services as well as classrooms for Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. In February 2011, the state fire marshal ordered the facility closed because of critical electrical and structural issues.
At the time, General Services Division inspectors determined it would cost about $4 million to repair the electrical systems, and $9 million to fix structural problems with the 15 buildings on campus, and the property has been vacant since then.
Jones said Monday that WVSU will look at restoring buildings on an individual basis, as demand and resources permit.
"We'll do that in the most cost-effective way we can," he said.
The center features classrooms and office space, dormitories, and recreational facilities.
"We've been interested in this property for a long time," Jones said. "It allows us to do many, many different things. It expands the footprint of the campus for future growth."