Education News

WVU Tech announces partnership with local community for recreation project

A new collaboration for the future of WVU Tech and Beckley

West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) Campus President Carolyn Long delivered the State of Tech address on Saturday, February 19, 2023, as part of their Homecoming celebration. The theme of her speech was resiliency through the past few years of Tech’s history.

Long highlighted the achievements and challenges of WVU Tech, which has seen an increase in enrollment in the past four of six years and is on track to increase enrollment again for next year. She also praised the faculty, staff and students for their service and involvement in the community, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The biggest highlight of the speech came as Long announced Tech is slated to be part of a large community project. The project, involving the Raleigh County Commission, the city of Beckley, the YMCA board and The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA), is a proposal to build new recreation fields near the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial sports complex in Beckley.

A win-win project for everyone

The proposal includes the building of a baseball field, walking tracks, areas for track and field and converting a soccer field into a football field to bring football back to WVU Tech. Long said this is a project that is a win-win for everyone – the community, the county, and WVU Tech.

“This project will not only provide our students with more opportunities for physical activity and wellness, but also enhance our relationship with the local community and create more economic development in the area,” Long said.

WVU Tech announces partnership with local community for recreation project

Long thanked the partners for their support and collaboration, especially NRGRDA Executive Director Jina Belcher, who is also a WVU Tech alumna. Belcher said she is excited to work with WVU Tech on this project and hopes it will benefit both the campus and the community.

“We are proud to partner with WVU Tech on this project, which will create a state-of-the-art recreation facility that will serve both students and residents. This project will also attract more visitors and events to Beckley, which will boost our local economy and tourism,” Belcher said.

A long-awaited return of football to WVU Tech

One of the most anticipated aspects of the project is the return of football to WVU Tech, which has not had a football team since 2012. Long said this has been a long-standing request from students, alumni and fans, and she is thrilled to make it happen.

“We are very excited to bring back football to WVU Tech, which has a rich history and tradition in this sport. We know how much our students, alumni and fans love football, and we want to give them something to cheer for,” Long said.

Long said the plan is to start a club football team in 2024 and transition to a varsity team in 2025. She said the team will compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) division and join the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC), which already includes WVU Tech’s other sports teams.

Long said she hopes the return of football will increase student engagement, alumni involvement and campus spirit at WVU Tech. She also said she hopes it will create more opportunities for student-athletes and coaches.

“We want to provide our students with a well-rounded college experience that includes academics, athletics and extracurricular activities. We also want to offer our student-athletes and coaches a chance to compete at a high level and showcase their talents,” Long said.

A vision for the future of WVU Tech

Long concluded her speech by expressing her optimism and gratitude for the future of WVU Tech. She said she is proud of how far WVU Tech has come since its relocation from Montgomery to Beckley in 2017, and how it has overcome many challenges along the way.

She also thanked the WVU Tech community for their support and dedication, and urged them to continue working together to achieve their goals.

“With a wonderful faculty and staff, magnificent students, a growing alumni base and increased community involvement, there is no limit to WVU Tech’s future,” she said.

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