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Crossroads finds money for expansion

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State grant, Carroll IDA will pay for the educational facility to buy a former church on Cranberry Road.

By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

  HILLSVILLE — The $300,000 grant from the Tobacco Commission and interim financing of $168,000 from the Carroll Industrial Development Authority will fund the expansion of the Crossroads Institute in Galax. 

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Oliver McBride, executive director of the Crossroads Institute, approached the IDA at its regular meeting Monday to ask for assistance to acquire the former Church of Latter Day Saints just off Cranberry Road, adjacent to the educational and entrepreneurial facility.

Crossroads officials successfully sought a grant earlier this year from the Tobacco Commission in order to create the Institute for Entrepreneurial Development and Higher Education Center.

The grant will take care of the bulk of the costs for this project, meant to make master and bachelor degree track options available locally, to add to the offerings from Wytheville Community College and to host conferences.

Other applications for funding, like one to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, have not come through at this point, McBride told The Gazette. So, he turned to the IDA for the remaining necessary funds.

"We have a target of closing on this property next door by the end of the year," he explained. "We have some programs we're trying to initiate in the new calendar year."

Crossroads officials asked for $110,000 to have enough for the building purchase, plus $58,000 for some minor renovations, and wiring the facility for its technological needs.

With the interim funding from the IDA, officials can make that happen while still searching for other financing opportunities. McBride said that Crossroads has an application out for a Rural Business Enterprise Grant, for example, to pay for equipment.

Having the extra space will facilitate offering degree options through New College Institute, which may include masters degrees in counseling and bachelors degrees in social work and early childhood education.

After the meeting, IDA Executive Director Bernie Deck quoted member Barry Hicks' reaction to the request from Crossroads — "This is what we're here to do."

Supporting workforce development and preparing citizens for careers are missions of the IDA, and that's what Crossroads aims to do, Deck noted. There's faith in McBride and what he has been able to accomplish with the Crossroads Institute.

"It's become a great regional asset, and it's good policy for Carroll to support that," Deck said.