BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — University of Charleston banners are now hanging in Beckley as the school makes its takeover of the former Mountain State University campus official.
University of Charleston President Ed Welch and Jerry Forster, area president of the new UC-Beckley, hung UC's maroon banners in front of Carter Hall just after midnight Tuesday. Maintenance crews from UC removed the granite Mountain State markers, The Register-Herald reported Wednesday.
"It is an exciting time for the University of Charleston," Welch. "It is a time of expansion and growth and the official beginning of UC-Beckley.
"It is a sad time of transition for many people who have been long associated with Mountain State and we have understanding and sympathy for that transition. At the same time, we are excited about what the future means for this university and the services we will be able to provide the students and community," he said.
The university is leasing all of Mountain State's buildings and the Martinsburg Mall from Mountain State Corporation.
Mountain State's accreditation was revoked by the Higher Education Policy Commission last June because of leadership, organizational and integrity issues. In December, the commission denied Mountain State's bid to regain its accreditation.
The commission also approved UC's expansion to Beckley and Martinsburg.
"There are programs that MSU had done well, like its culinary arts, and there were programs with problems, but we are here to build on the strengths. There were good people here, good faculty and staff. We need to let them continue to do their work in the classroom," Forster said.
Many of Mountain State's faculty and staff have been hired by UC-Beckley, he said.
"It takes passion, vision and industriousness in order to create a new university. We have those traits. We are going to be successful and are anxious to get on with it," Welch said.
Spring semester classes in Beckley and Martinsburg will begin Jan. 14. Online classes begin Jan. 7.
About 500 students are expected to enroll at UC-Beckley for the spring semester. At its peak, Mountain State had said it enrolled 8,200 students annually. A majority of its students were nontraditional.
The school was founded in 1933 as Beckley College.