Dedication next week
for new center
By Julie Kane
Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 32 - June 4, 1998
On Tuesday, June 9, from 4 to 7 p.m., Virginia Tech officials will join legislators and officials from six other colleges and universities, and alumni to dedicate the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center (SWVHEC) in Abingdon.
The 89,000-square-foot education and conference facility is located on the campus of the Virginia Highland Community College in Abingdon. The event will feature comments from several legislators and the presidents from several of the universities and educational facilities involved. Tours of the facility will be held.
Because less than 6 percent of the adults who live in the far southwest have bachelor's degrees, the SWVHEC was established by the General Assembly in 1991 to strengthen the economy of the region through education and training of the current and future workforce. To ameliorate the situation, the SWVHEC developed a comprehensive university curriculum by importing selected degree programs from sister institutions across Virginia.
The center is a partnership of publicly funded colleges and universities serving southwest Virginia, including Clinch Valley College, Radford University, the University of Virginia, Virginia Highlands Community College and Virginia Tech. Old Dominion University and Virginia Commonwealth University will also offer televised classes at the center. Emory & Henry College, Virginia Intermont College, and Bluefield College are ex-officio members of the partnership.
The original purpose of the SWVHEC was to provide a continuum of educational opportunities in one place. Students could attend two years at Virginia Highland Community College, continue with third and fourth years sponsored by Clinch Valley College or Old Dominion University, and then earn a master's degree from the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech or Radford University.
Over 42 separate degree programs are now provided by the partners. Offerings are especially strong in graduate education and graduate engineering, and in undergraduate programming. For Virginia Tech, master's courses are available in engineering, business administration, education, vocational education, public-health administration, and political science. The building offers state-of-the-art distance-learning technology, including compressed video and enhanced communications lines for computer-delivered courses.
Under construction for two years, the new building features classrooms, a computerized library, faculty offices, laboratories, and extensive conference facilities including the 13,000-square-foot grand hall.
The multi-purpose space is expected to attract conventions, trade shows and major state-wide meetings to Southwest Virginia. It is the largest public facility west of Roanoke.
For more information, call Patricia Foutz at (540) 469-4000.