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Shepherd plans to begin tech classes

October 30, 2000

Shepherd plans to begin tech classes



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W. Va. - While all the details have not been worked out, officials at Shepherd Community and Technical College are preparing to open classes for about 200 students here Jan. 10.

Officials must complete the details of a lease to use the abandoned Blue Ridge Outlet Center, said Peter Checkovich, provost of the community and technical college. That may occur by the end of November.

The timing of signing the lease could delay some classes the college would like to offer for the spring semester, but some students will start in January, he said.

"We haven't been given enough time to schedule our full list of classes," Checkovich said. "What we'd want to do is have our general students' classes going in the spring, but we just didn't have enough time."

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He expects the initial classes to include computer certification, criminal justice and paralegal work. About a dozen administrative support people will move when the lease is signed.

Lease negotiations have been going on for months, with changes being made as the document nears completion. College officials announced in July they planned to move their operations out of Shepherdstown and into the outlet center, a more central site for students in the Eastern Panhandle.

After a review by two state boards, the go-ahead for the move was given earlier this month, although the Higher Education Policy Commission would not let the college seek $150,000 it had hoped to pursue from the Legislature. The college estimates it will cost about $3.1 million for a five-year move of the college.

"We've been talking about some ideas about how to make up the difference, but nothing we are ready to make public at this time," Checkovich said.

The community and technical college has 1,300 students at Shepherdstown, which translates into the equivalent of about 800 full-time students. Another 300 students attend the south branch at Petersburg. The college will use about 18,000-19,000 square feet of the outlet center the first year, eventually doubling the space to about 38,000 square feet.

The college will phase in operations over the next several years. After two or three years, the majority of students will attend classes at the site.

Renovation also must occur.

"It was set up for retail," Checkovich said. "They don't have quite the electrical we need for computer classes and we hope to take some of those big rooms they have and find an inexpensive way to divide them up."

The college will continue to offer classes throughout the Panhandle as long as people want them, he said.

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