Dunlop said the college might go to the business community for help. It has a $200,000 contract with General Motors and the United Auto Workers to provide training. Similar contracts might be expanded or others sought to help make up the difference, he said.
The policy commission has prohibited the college from seeking additional legislative money that it believes is needed for other programs. But that doesn't mean legislators from the Eastern Panhandle can't pursue it.
House Del. Vicki Douglas, D-Berkeley, said she "absolutely" will seek whatever money is needed.
"I think if you can get it started, it can begin to bear its own weight," she said. She also hopes Shepherd can find money from businesses, rather than from the state budget.
"This whole community college effort is a positive reaction to what the whole business community has been asking for the past five years and most ardently the past two years," she said.
She and state Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, said they will try to get the legislature to fill any gaps.
"You're not talking about a tremendous amount of dollars, as far as higher education is concerned," Snyder said. But he also would like to see efforts made to raise non-government money.
"There's a number of ways to do this without taking it out of the general budget," Snyder said. "I believe the business community could give some funds for this. I'd like to see it all funded (privately) rather than taking it from the state budget."
The college still must put the finishing touches on the move. The lease details have not been concluded. Dunlop said he didn't want to comment about negotiations and whether the college was seeking a lower lease agreement because of the financial situation.
The plan also needs the approval of the chancellor of the state Interim Governing Board and the blessing of the state agency that approves all leases.
But Dunlop said he remains confident the move will occur soon.
"You'd rather have the money than not," he said. "But if you're going to move forward, you have to focus on the positive things that happen. And we expect to see students at the community college in Martinsburg the first week of January."