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HomeTechnology$10M Gift To Create New WVU Parkersburg Technology Center | News, Sports,...

$10M Gift To Create New WVU Parkersburg Technology Center | News, Sports, Jobs

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photo by: Jess Mancini

Torie Jackson, president of WVU Parkersburg, holds a laptop with an aerial view of the former Ohio Valley University. The college Friday announced a $10 million gift from the Ross Foundation of Parkersburg to buy and renovate the former OVU facility and establish the WVU Parkersburg Technology Center.

PARKERSBURG — A local foundation’s multimillion-dollar gift will finance the creation of the new WVU Parkersburg Technology Center.

The Ross Foundation’s $10 million gift will be used to purchase and renovate portions of the former Ohio Valley University where the center will be located, college President Torie Jackson said at an announcement Friday morning attended by numerous local officials.

The gift from the Ross Foundation of Parkersburg is the largest in the history of West Virginia University at Parkersburg, Jackson said.

“I look forward to being a part of this,” Tres Ross of the Ross Foundation said.

Ross is the son of the late Sam Ross, a businessman and philanthropist from Parkersburg.

“On behalf of the Board of Governors, thank you for being a part of the container and being able to see the vision that Sam Ross and the Ross Foundation had for this college, the community and our students,” Joe Oliverio, chairman of the WVU-P Board of Governors, said.

The growth of degrees in computer science and information technology, a bachelor’s of applied technology in cybersecurity and opportunities for growth in degrees such as mechanical engineering will be the focus of the WVU-P Technology Center, Jackson said.

“The well-being of the Mid-Ohio Valley is our concern,” she said. “The ability for students to attain technology jobs in the Mid-Ohio Valley is our concern.”

The center will include 25 technology-based incubators, she said. Student businesses with winners of the college’s pitch competition will have a place to incubate their business as they move from concept and business plan to an operating company, Jackson said.

The college will work with the Wood County Development Authority to encourage companies to locate in the center, Jackson said.

“I’m super excited about this announcement today,” Lindsey Piersol, executive director of the development authority, said.

The WVU-P Foundation will use $4.6 million of the gift to purchase the property. The remainder will be used for renovation.

The focus will be on the north campus, located in the city of Vienna, Jackson said.

The former Stotts Administration Hall will be transformed into the Technology Center, Jackson said. When the renovation is completed, the foundation will give the building to the college for operation as an academic and technology incubation center, she said.

The foundation will keep the residential facilities and will get a private group to operate the residences as subsidized housing for students, Jackson said.

Buildings on the south campus on College Parkway will be sold or demolished, then the property will be available for other uses, she said.

The funds from the sale of all the property will establish an endowed fund to support professorships, scholarships and a venture fund for the development of technology programs and companies in the new location, Jackson said.

Ohio Valley University closed in December 2021 and has been in bankruptcy court. The sale depends on the process in court, according to Jackson.

“We can not give an exact timeline until the court rulings are complete,” she said.

The gift may also be the largest ever given to a community college in West Virginia, Sarah Tucker, chancellor of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System, said in a message to the college.

“President Jackson and her team have worked very hard to secure this donation,” Tucker said.

Delegate Vernon Criss, R-Wood, called the project a game changer for the region.

“I think this is a great day for WVU Parkersburg,” Criss said.

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