By C.V. Moore
Though details have yet to be announced, discussions about a merger between two community and technical colleges in the Kanawha Valley are well under way.
Leaders at Bridgemont Community and Technical College (CTC) and Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College are reportedly working on a plan that would save on administration costs by creating “efficiencies and economies of scale,” according to Delegate David Perry, D-Fayette.
Though legislation has yet to be introduced, Perry says the proposal would create a multi-campus school for Bridgemont.
Kanawha Valley CTC, which recently moved into a building at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in South Charleston, would be subsumed under Bridgemont’s branding and leadership.
Administration would remain in Montgomery, where Bridgemont is currently based. Programs at both schools would be preserved and the South Charleston campus would continue to operate.
Dr. Joseph Badgley announced his retirement from the presidency of Kanawha Valley CTC last December.
“It appears this is a natural year for an administration change to occur,” said Perry.
Bridgemont also has programs at the South Charleston tech park, and this would greatly expand its operations there.
Perry said legislation is “forthcoming” but he did not know exactly when a bill might be introduced.
The merger is being promoted by the chancellor of the Community and Technical College System (CTCS) of West Virginia, James Skidmore, according to Perry.
Sen. William Laird, D-Fayette, said he and other legislators met with Bridgemont’s president, Dr. Jo Harris, several weeks ago to broach the topic and called the discussion “preliminary.”
“She wanted us to be aware in general that those discussions are under way. (...) She seemed to indicate that there were collaborative opportunities to link (Kanawha Valley’s) curriculum with that of Bridgemont,” said Laird.
“Obviously we are concerned about the impact of the Bridgemont Community and Technical College on the communities in the Upper Kanawha Valley and certainly I think we will continue to monitor that with great interest.”
When asked for comment, Harris said simply that no legislation has been introduced at this time.
Neither Chancellor James Skidmore nor the president of Kanawha Valley CTC could be reached for comment Friday.