January 26, 2015

Senator Manchin Hosts Discussion | Elkins Inter-Mountain

DAVIS - U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) joined community leaders, officials from the Canaan Valley Institute, the National Youth Science Foundation, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and other individuals Saturday for a tour of the Canaan Valley Institute facility and to host a round-table discussion on the possible transfer of the Canaan Valley Institute facility to the NYSF.

The NYSF is interested in building a National Center for Youth Science Education. It would be used to expand and improve its programs and make it a focal point that encourages youth in West Virginia and across the country to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. If the transfer is completed, officials believe it could bring significant educational and economic opportunities to the state and community.

"It is very rare that I sit in on a meeting and everyone be on the same side," Senator Joe Manchin said. "They had a lot of great ideas and how to bring them all together. We are basically extending opportunities for education."

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Chief Judge Ronald Pearson said, "The support from the Tucker County community and the Canaan Valley area here encouraging the National Youth Science Foundation to make this a STEM hub for West Virginia students and also the enthusiasm they have for our goal of eventually having what will be the National Center for Youth Science Education here.

We want to run the National Youth Science camp eventually up here. We're going to have to add facilities in addition to what CVI is but this can be the starting structure. It can house an administrative (office) and much of our instructional work right here in this building."

Manchin suggested forming committees to explore securing funding from various sources.

"This is all about educating the future workers of America," Senator Manchin said. "How do you grow our value as a country, how do you remain a super power, it's all through education."

Tucker County Commission members Lowell Moore, Diane Hinkle and Patrick Darlington expressed their support for the project.

"I see that the National Science Foundation, CVI and the National Fish and Wildlife pull together," Commission President Lowell Moore said. "They actually try to serve and do the same service for a lot of people. I think that we can all come together. This county can accommodate all three and I think they are going to pull together."

"I think it's a win-win scenario for everybody," Commissioner Patrick Darlington said. "For the county, for the Science Foundation, for Fish and Wildlife. When you look at the opportunity that is available here the way it would benefit Tucker County, the way it would benefit the state of West Virginia, it's tremendous. You look at the job opportunities, the impact of the people that it will bring to the county and the future development it could lead it's amazing what it could do."

The NYSF and committees will be meeting in Charleston on Feb. 11 to continue.

By:  Dan Geohagan