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Shepherd campus in Martinsburg is discussed

April 01, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - There have been discussions about opening a Shepherd College branch in Martinsburg to better serve the large number of Shepherd students here, officials said Thursday.

Many of the approximately 4,000 students who attend Shepherd are from Berkeley County, and it would be more convenient for them to have a local branch than having to commute to Shepherdstown, state and Shepherd officials said.

"I think it makes a whole lot of sense. That's sort of a population center," said Pete Checkovich, provost of the Community and Technical College at Shepherd.

The idea is one of several being considered for higher education.

Another proposal calls for moving the Community and Technical College from under Shepherd's control and making it an independent school, said Del. John Doyle, D-Jefferson.

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But concern has been raised about whether that would be a good move.Checkovich said moving the community college could create accreditation problems for the school, and Doyle said he is not sure the Community and Technical College has enough students to make the move cost-effective.

Doyle said discussions are in the early stages and no formal proposals have been made.

"It's all just pie-in-the-sky speculating," said Doyle.

Should a Martinsburg branch of Shepherd become reality, Doyle said he would like the facility to offer as many classes as possible.

Doyle said an excellent location for a Shepherd branch would be the Blue Ridge Outlet.

Judy Faul, executive director of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce, also has said the outlet mall would be good location for a school.

Checkovich said he has had no talks with Blue Ridge officials.

Moncure Chatfield-Taylor, partner in Blue Ridge Outlet Associates, could not be reached for comment.

Despite a loss of stores in the outlet at Stephen and Raleigh streets, Chatfield-Taylor said the outlet will not close.

Del. Charles Trump, R-Morgan, said there have been discussions about a Shepherd College branch in Martinsburg for about a year."It's something I'm certainly willing to look at and study," said Trump.

Del. John Overington said he is concerned that a local branch would take too much away from the main campus.

"Those kinds of things have been mentioned, but I didn't consider them that serious," said Overington, R-Berkeley.

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