Blue Ridge Community and Technical College to open learning centers

August 03, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Beyond Blue Ridge Community and Technical College’s new “pastoral” campus, President Peter G. Checkovich said the college is hard at work on plans to open learning centers in Morgan and Jefferson counties.

Courses in Morgan County will be offered at the former War Memorial Hospital building, which has been renamed the Pines Opportunity Center, Checkovich said.

Blue Ridge CTC is leasing 12,000 square feet from the Morgan County Commission, following a similar format that the college has had with the Berkeley County Council, Checkovich said. Among the courses to be offered at the Morgan County campus will be a certified assistant nursing program as well as computer, general education and online classes, Checkovich said.

“It will be a convenience for students in that area that really do not have another option,” Checkovich said.

Checkovich said the school has been asked by Berkeley Springs, W.Va.-based Mountain View Solar to do some training with the company, but believes that possible partnership still is in the beginning stages.

Carol Rothstein, director of the Morgan County campus, said earlier this year that the community there has one of the lowest college-going rates in the state, possibly because of limited access to higher education.

“Our goal is to provide an opportunity for high school students to earn college credit, deliver work force development and training solutions to local businesses, and offer collegiate level certificates and associate degree programs to all residents,” Rothstein said.

The college, meanwhile, still is looking for a site to establish a similarly sized learning center in Jefferson County, Checkovich said.

“Obviously, with the move (in Martinsburg), we haven’t had a whole lot of time to concentrate on that,” Checkovich said. “We’ll probably lock in on something (there) in the fall for development.”

Given growth trends, Checkovich said the school’s enrollment could approach 10,000 in the next 10 years.

• Before counting to four and cutting a blue ribbon, Checkovich publicly recognized state Sen. Walt Helmick, D-Pocahontas, Friday for his support of Blue Ridge CTC’s new campus project, noting a lot of late night phone calls were placed to the now former Senate Finance Committee chairman regarding project funding.

Other elected officials who attended Friday’s ceremonies included state Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson/Berkeley, and Dels. John Doyle and Tiffany Lawrence, both D-Jefferson. Martinsburg Mayor George Karos, who Checkovich recognized for supporting the college’s initial move to Martinsburg, also attended the event. Representatives of U.S. Sens. Jay Rockefeller, Joe Manchin and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, also were present.

• Boy Scout Troop 137, which took part in Friday’s ceremonies, raised three flags outside the new headquarters for Blue Ridge CTC, including a new flag for the school.

The white banner, which bears the school seal, was made by Goodwill Industries, said Leslie See, vice president of enrollment management.

A small food service operation yet to open on the first floor of the building has been dubbed the Bruin Cafe in recognition of the school’s mascot, whose name is Baxter, See said.

A bookstore next to the servery is being operated by Barnes & Noble through a vendor agreement with the college, See said.

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