Mayor Emmett Pugh says Beckley is a better city with Mountain State University as part of the community.
MSU officials announced Tuesday they’re putting some of the university’s property up for sale to help keep the school going while they wait to see if their appeal for accreditation is granted.
One of the buildings is a 550,000-square foot mall in Martinsburg, the site of their community college campus The plan also calls for the sale of several buildings in Beckley.
Mayor Pugh says a three-story building the university owns is prime real estate.
"They own property downtown which could easily be utilized by a business,” Mayor Pugh said.
Then there are multiple structures that are currently housing MSU faculty and staff.
"A lot of the other buildings are actually homes that have been converted for use into offices utilized by MSU,” he said. “They are homes that have been converted and probably could fairly easily be converted back into a home-type of environment."
Pugh stresses one thing MSU has done for the city is act almost like an urban renewal program.
"They have taken out a lot of dilapidated properties, have updated their properties. They do a tremendous job of keeping their infrastructure up to date," according to Pugh.
He says that will make it much easier for MSU to sell off some of it’s real estate.
"Given the set of circumstances that MSU finds itself in, I really don’t feel probably that there is any other avenue open to them at the present time,” he said.
The university’s current accreditation ends on August 27th. The appeal to the Higher Learning Commission could take longer. Pugh says either way, things are changing.
"No matter what happens with the MSU appeal, if MSU would win their appeal and regain accreditation, you’re not going to see MSU come back the same university it was before. It is going to be somewhat smaller,” Mayor Pugh concluded.