Money for technical college land purchase OK'd in state session

August 22, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A $3 million appropriation to help Blue Ridge Community and Technical College with the purchase of land for a campus was included in a bill passed by the West Virginia Legislature, state Sen. John Unger and Del. Walter Duke confirmed on Tuesday.

The college's governing board in June gave itself the authority to develop a contract to purchase property, according to the board's meeting minutes. Last month, CTC President Peter Checkovich said the property was very close to Interstate 81 and City Hospital off Dry Run Road.

"We finally got it," Unger said of efforts to get the money approved during this week's special session at the state capitol.

"I've been working pretty hard on this for some time now," said Unger, who believes Gov. Joe Manchin will sign the supplemental appropriation legislation rather quickly.


In the next regular session, Unger said lawmakers plan to reintroduce a construction bonding bill to get money to help Blue Ridge CTC build a new campus at the future site.

Though not a downtown Martinsburg location as some community leaders advocated, Checkovich has said the location being considered is based on projections for future growth.

Unger, D-Berkeley/Jefferson, previously suggested school leaders consider purchasing a former shopping plaza property in the 500 block of South Raleigh Street near the county's judicial center. The Berkeley County Commission in February 2007 decided to follow up on an option they had in place and purchased the 5.51-acre former Martin's grocery/CVS store property for $3.15 million.

Though not specifically identified in legislation, Duke, R-Berkeley, said he believed there was revenue generally appropriated during the special legislative session that the Eastern Panhandle might still be able to tap into.

"There's possibilities, I think," Duke said while driving back from Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday evening. Unger said one potential beneficiary could be The Arts Centre in Martinsburg.

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