An up to $77,000 grant requested by the Southwest Virginia Community College Educational Foundation from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) to be used to conduct a feasibility study for a proposed regional education and events center to be located in Tazewell and Russell counties near Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC) was closed Tuesday at the community college.
SWCC, Tazewell County and Russell County have agreed to work together to explore the concept of developing a regional education and events center near SWCC.
“VCEDA is pleased to assist with the feasibility study which will help in making a determination as to whether an events center such as the one proposed is a good fit for that area in terms of viability, cost and other factors,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “We look forward to seeing the study results.”
SWCC President, Dr. Tommy Wright, noted the college is proud to partner with the counties and with VCEDA in exploring the project possibilities.
“This opens lots of doors for our students and the region and I am excited to see where it will take us,” Wright said of the feasibility study. “If we get a good report, then we will begin exploring the best options going forward.”
Ernest McFaddin, Russell County Industrial Development Authority chairman, noted Russell County is excited to be working with SWCC on the project.
“Dr. Wright and his staff are constantly looking for ways to expand the programs at the college and the possibility of adding an event center in our community would create unlimited possibilities,” McFaddin said.
Tazewell County Supervisor Travis Hackworth noted the study would not have been possible without the cooperation of the SWCC Educational Foundation and both Tazewell and Russell counties.
“We’ll see what this feasibility study says and if it comes to life, this will be a big economic boom to Southwest Virginia,” Hackworth said. “We have a lot of great things planned.”
Russell County Supervisor David Eaton echoed those sentiments, adding, “this project will enhance the region going forward.”
As proposed, the center would be modeled somewhat after a similar center at Walters State Community College in Morristown, Tenn., which SWCC and Tazewell and Russell county representatives have previously visited.
As part of the feasibility study, a market analysis, program planning study, conceptual layout planning, cost estimate study and economic/fiscal impact study are planned. All of these will help to determine the viability and potential impact of the proposed project, before construction funds are requested.