Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

May 23, 2014

Grant funding still not approved for Tazewell County dental school

TAZEWELL, Va. — Grant funding has still not been approved for the construction of Tazewell County’s new dental school project at the Bluestone Regional Business and Technology Park.

The Bluefield College School of Dental Medicine project had an opportunity to be funded early Thursday if the Virginia Tobacco Commission defunded the King College Medical Program, according to Charles Stacy,  chairman of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors.

“The purpose of the meeting was to consider defunding the King College Medical Program, but the Virginia Tobacco Commission voted 14- to- 13 to allow six more months to see if the King College Medical Program accomplished certain things that the tobacco commission has asked of them to complete,” Stacy said. “If the project had been defunded it would have freed up about $24 million and could have been a faster consideration process for the dental school.”

Stacy said officials are still optimistic about the funding chances for the dental school.

“We do have a little glimmer of hope that a July meeting will tell if we can receive any funds from the tobacco commission’s new budget set on July 1,” Stacy said. “We are at least going to ask for them to commit to funding the dental school. If we do not receive any funding, it could be January 2015 before anything happens. If the King College Medical Program is defunded the $24 million will be redistributed and we are in a very strong position to be considered for the money.”

Although the college already has $20 million secured for the project, almost another $35 million is needed.

The two applications to the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission that have been submitted are not up for review until September, Stacy said.

“Even though our applications are not supposed to be looked at until September, the Tobacco Commission has indicated that they will expedite our applications sooner than September,” Stacy said.

In addition to boosting enrollment at Bluefield College, officials hope the dental school will promote local economic development and address the shortage of dental care providers and improve oral health in the area.

— Contact Anne Elgin at

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