MONTGOMERY, WV (WVNS) – It has been a bit of a challenging journey for Montgomery city officials, like Mayor Greg Ingrum, who struggled to fill the empty buildings which make up the former WVU Tech campus.
“West Virginia University decided in 2016 to move to WVU Tech to Beckley, and when they did that, they vacated 12- 14 buildings on the campus,” Ingram said.
Even more of a loss was no longer having the students who attended the school walking around or living in the area. After the WVU Tech campus shut down and a chunk of the student population left, multiple businesses were forced to close their doors, and homeowners who rented their properties to students now have vacant houses.
But, new opportunity is coming. During last week’s State of the State Address, Governor Jim Justice announced plans for the Mountaineer Challenge Academy to open up a second location on the Tech Campus. The program is bun by the WV National Guard and Major General James Hoyer. It is designed to give academically challenged teens a second chance at getting their basic education.
“They come to our program, it’s a 22 week military environment,” Gen. Hoyer said.
Expected to bring more than 60 jobs to the area, Ingram and Gen. Hoyer not only think this will benefit a part of the state that needs an economic boost, but that this will also be another ideal location for children to thrive in their program.
“It’s gonna be good for Montgomery, but it is gonna be good for the state of West Virginia to be able to take more kids who are risk who have either dropped out or are dropping out of school to continue their education,” Gen. Hoyer explained.