CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Senate Bill 486 for the revitalization of WVU Tech was passed in the 2011 legislative session. The revitalization process has been underway for eight months, since March 2012.
The Tech Revitalization Committee will submit a report to the Legislature in December, and then, during the 2013 legislative session, will request $7.8 million from the Legislature for revitalization projects. This $7.8 million request is not based on the Revitalization Project for West Virginia University Institute of Technology Team Report, or Curris Report, mandated in SB 486. Instead, the amount is based on the West Virginia University Institute of Technology Integrated Facilities Plan (WVU Sightlines) commissioned by WVU, and bypasses the spirit and letter of SB 486.
Through this revitalization plan, the community and Tech alumni hoped that the new WVU President James Clements would begin correcting the injustices that have occurred on the Tech campus during the 16 years under WVU governance. Quite the opposite, it seems. WVU's use of WVU Sightlines rather than the Curris Report to prioritize revitalization projects gives cause to question once again Morgantown's intentions for its divisional campus in Montgomery.
Although the Curris Report states, "The best thinking in Morgantown and Charleston will be secondary to decisions made on the WVU Tech campus," the committee is composed predominantly of members who come directly from WVU or have close connections with the Morgantown campus:
* David Hendrickson, chairman of the committee, is a Charleston attorney with a lengthy connection to WVU. He received both of his degrees from WVU; served as WVU student body president; is past national president of the WVU Alumni Association; and was named WVU Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, 2004.
* Carolyn Long, a Committee member and the WVU-appointed chief executive officer for Tech, served as Chair of the WVU Board of Governors before coming to Tech. Long was chair of the board that brought Dr. Clements to the Morgantown campus.
* Ed Robinson, Chair of the Tech Facilities Subcommittee and a member of the Committee, has served for years on the WVU Board of Governors. He was instrumental in bringing former Tech President Charles Bayless (who proposed moving Tech to Dow in 2006) to the Montgomery campus.
All are strong WVU advocates.
Because most other committee members also have strong WVU connections, a vast majority of the community, including many Tech alumni, understand that the recommendations of the committee were determined before it officially met.
The $7.8M that the committee proposes to request from the Legislature for facility upgrades is based directly on WVU Sightlines, not on the Curris Report. WVUSightlines deals only with facilities upgrades; the Curris Report deals with improvements in academics and facilities.