MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The education omnibus that state lawmakers passed earlier this year included language aimed at increasing enrollment at the ChalleNGe Academy to 600 students as well as opening a second location in southern West Virginia.

The problem: the bill did not provide any additional funding for the proposal.


Rob Alsop

West Virginia University officials are among those watching the next steps to not only secure funding but also secure a site for a second school.

“They had a lot on their plate with K-12 education reform. They may have wanted some additional information, they may have just said sharpen your pencils and come back,” said Rob Alsop, WVU’s vice president of strategic initiatives. “The National Guard has continued to have conversations with the legislature on how we get to a good place and make that ChalleNGe Academy a reality.”

The only current ChalleNGe Academy is in Preston County; the volunteer program is a 22-week quasi-military program for at-risk teenagers in danger of missing graduation requirements.

In terms of a second location, Alsop said WVU is considering allocating buildings from the West Virginia University Institute of Technology campus in Montgomery.

“We’re a willing partner in terms of working with them for the buildings and as far as transfer of the property to the appropriate folks, so we’re very willing to work with them,” he said.

KVC Health Systems was supposed to take over the campus for an education facility for people aging out of foster care, but the group pulled out of the arrangement in March.