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Shepherd University officials eye Tanger Outlet mall building

Misfortunes befalling Mountain State University could lead to SU Martinsburg satellite campus

July 31, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Here is a photo of the Mountain State University facility at the former Tanger Outlet mall building in Martinsburg, W.Va. Shepherd University officials are looking at possibly purchasing the property in wake of Mountain State's accreditation troubles.
By Richard F. Belisle, Staff Writer

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — During a speech in April, Shepherd University President Suzanne Shipley spoke of a goal to establish four-year degree programs in education, business administration and nursing for part-time, nontraditional students in Martinsburg, W.Va., by the fall of 2013.

Now, because of misfortunes befalling Mountain State University, Shepherd could open a Martinsburg satellite campus as early as January.

Shepherd officials are taking a hard look at buying or leasing Mountain State University’s classroom and administrative facility in the converted former Tanger Outlet mall building at 214 Viking Way, Shepherd University spokeswoman Valerie Owens said this week.

Mountain State’s future has been in doubt since the Higher Learning Commission announced in July that it is pulling the Beckley, W.Va.-based private school’s accreditation for failure to meet the HLC’s criteria for leadership, resources, planning and oversight. The university filed an appeal.

Mountain State also has satellite campuses in Pennsylvania, Florida and North Carolina.

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Mountain State officials have indicated that they hope to sell their Martinsburg properties, which include the Viking Way building and the Martinsburg Mall.

Shipley met with Mountain State officials about the Viking Way campus.

“It’s already set up for classroom and administrative office space,” Owens said. “It’s good to go. We could start (classes) in January.”

According to an aide in her office, Shipley is out of town this week and is unavailable for comment.

Shipley said in April that Shepherd is at capacity.

“We are experiencing crowding in areas like parking and office space, sometimes classroom space,” she said.  

Older, working adult, part-time students seeking four-year bachelor’s and master’s degrees would be attracted to a Martinsburg campus, since they don’t require the facilities and services of Shepherd’s main campus, she said at the time.

“These students are drawn to our academic reputation and quality of instruction, but (do) not take as much advantage of our student services aimed at the traditional undergraduate student,” Shipley said in April.

Viking Way is just off Interstate 81, which would provide convenient access to a Martinsburg campus for students from Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, Owens said.

“It would cut down on the number of cars on the (main) campus,” she said. 

The long, stretched-out building with its back to Foxcroft Avenue once housed the Tanger Outlet mall.

It is bookended on the east by Kobe Japanese Steak & Seafood House at 220 Viking Way and on the west by the Chamber of Commerce of Martinsburg and Berkeley County at 196 Viking Way. Martial Arts USA is at 204 Viking Way. The rest of the space is dedicated to Mountain State facilities and classrooms.

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