- Associated Press - Saturday, January 30, 2016

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) - A Kanawha County Circuit Court judge has refused to grant an emergency motion to stop West Virginia University from moving WVU Tech from Montgomery to Beckley.

Among other things, the lawsuit claims the move violates a state law requiring WVU Tech’s headquarters to remain in Montgomery.

The Register-Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1VxBMIr) Judge Louis Bloom on Friday said he did not believe waiting to rule on the legality of the move until a full hearing in May would cause irreparable harm to Montgomery and its residents.

Charleston Attorney Jeffery Wakefield represents the Board of Governors. He argued the hearing should be held after the 2016 Legislative session because two bills the Legislature is considering could eliminate the requirement for WVU Tech to be headquartered in Montgomery.

Charleston Attorney Carl Roncaglione, who represents Montgomery plaintiffs Dorothy Phillips and William Willis, disagreed.

“Every day, every second, they are moving desks, materials and classes to Beckley,” he said. “They have broken this college, dismantled it. A better question might be ‘Why are they (Board of Governors) violating the law?’”

The lawsuit alleges WVU’s board refused to follow legislative mandates to revitalize the Montgomery campus and ignored similar recommendations from Higher Education Policy chancellors.

Tech President Carolyn Long has said the Montgomery campus has an estimated $100 million in deferred maintenance and remains far short of an enrollment goal of 1,800 set several years ago.

West Virginia University’s Board of Governors voted in September to move WVU Tech’s campus to Beckley. The plan calls for a full complement of freshmen classes to be offered next fall at WVU Beckley. All Tech academic programs are scheduled to move to the Beckley campus in 2017 and athletic teams will remain until the 2017 move.

WVU leaders say they will work with Montgomery officials to find a new purpose for the campus, such as a location for restaurants, student housing or merchandise outlets.

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Information from: The Register-Herald, https://www.register-herald.com

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