State Higher Education Chancellor Dr. Paul Hill says he’s hopeful the state Dept. of Agriculture’s testing labs will soon take up residence in the state-owned West Virginia Regional Technology Park in South Charleston.
Chancellor Hill says he recently spoke with new state Agriculture Commission Walt Helmick about the possibility.
“He’s making plans to do just that,” Hill said. “He is looking at ways he can move his operation there as well.”
The move would be a key one for the technology park as it continues to get established after Dow Chemical gave the 258-acre property and buildings to the state three years ago.
Two community and technical colleges, Kanawha Valley and Bridgemont, already offer classes at the park and construction continues on other facilities.
“The Advanced Technology Center is under construction now, lots of activity there,” Chancellor Hill said. “There is still work going on at Building 2000 and we hope to see that completed this year.”
The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission is now looking for a new executive director for the park. The first one, Phil Halstead, left recently to pursue other interests. Chancellor Hill says the person hired to replace Halstead will be a key hire.
“We’ve done some things now to get the facility on solid footing, to get some of the operations issues worked out,” Hill said. “Now we want to bring additional interested parties to the park, R&D companies, that may want to use more of those pilot facilities in the future.”
Chancellor Hill says he wants to see an increase in tenants because that will help the bottom line and the long-term stability of the park.
“We will be focusing on more recruitment, working with Matric, which is of course the primary research group there. We’re seeing continued growth and hope we are going to see more,” Hill said.