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The Carroll Industrial Development Authority became one of the first groups to use the new higher education center at the Crossroads Institute.
The IDA got on board early with the project to expand the educational and entrepreneurial facility to the former Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, on adjacent property on Cranberry Road.
After the Virginia Tobacco Commission granted $230,000 to make the expansion possible — on top of another $300,000 to buy the building — the IDA provided interim financing of $168,000 to support the project.
The institute also received a $99,760 Rural Business Enterprise Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to convert the building into a higher education facility, which will include six distance learning classrooms and two conference rooms.
The plan for the new 4,500-square-foot facility is to use it for bachelor and master degree offerings and other community functions.
Crossroads Institute Director Oliver McBride welcomed and gave a tour to the IDA members, who held their April meeting at the new facility.
“We appreciate your coming to visit today,” he said.
He also appreciated the IDA’s flexibility in delaying the visit by two months.
“If you’d come in February, you would have found ladders and wires and all kinds of things just kind of hanging,” he said.
McBride thanked the IDA members for their commitment to the project and for providing Crossroads with the interim loan to help purchase the facility.
Then there was the additional grant that enabled Crossroads to furnish the higher education center with tables and chairs.
“We’re still working on an Internet connection for the building. That has to happen before we’re ready to use all of the technology that we have,” McBride said.
A masters program through Averett University is already underway with seven students, McBride said.
They have class at the main Crossroads facility, but will soon be able to move into the higher ed center.
Crossroads plans to establish partnerships with schools to offer masters and bachelors degree programs.
Other organizations or professional groups that need a place for training will be able to use the facility, as well.
Officials have advertised for a part-time technology assistant to help operate the equipment, McBride.
A grand opening is planned for July and August, and the new facility will be in general use by then.
McBride pointed out the video cameras in the classrooms to make it an interactive distance learning experience.
“We believe that this will be a facility that will serve the community well for a long time,” he said.