With the closure of the Southwestern Virginia Training Center almost a done deal, some Carroll County officials are starting to explore what might become of the Hillsville facility.
The state of Virginia reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice in August of 2012 to close four of the state’s five training centers, including the Hillsville facility, to move residents to other smaller homes or facilities. Under the agreement, the Southwestern Virginia Training Center in Hillsville is scheduled to be closed by June 30, 2018. Legislation in the General Assembly to stop or delay the closure of the facility has failed in recent years.
During the Carroll County Board of Supervisors’ January 8 meeting, Supervisor Dr. Tom Littrell, a strong advocate in the past of keeping the training center open, revisited the topic.
“The Southwestern Virginia Training Center, we are in the 11th hour now. It is scheduled to close in June of 2018, in less than six months. There will be another push at the General Assembly level to try to extend the time it is open but in the event that fails I think we need to have a Plan B,” Littrell said. “That is a really nice facility and I know other locations that have lost their training centers have well before we are doing gotten on an economic development option plan to see what can be done with that property, whether it is declared state surplus or if a private company wants to get in there with some idea. But I think we need to pursue both directions, trying to keep it open as well as trying to figure out what to do with it should it close. We don’t have a lot of time there.”
Supervisor Rex Hill thanked Littrell for reminding the board about the training center, calling it very important to the community. Board of Supervisors’ Chairman Robbie McCraw agreed with Littrell’s sentiments.
“I really appreciate Tom’s comments about the Southwestern Virginia Training Center because it is important and it is the last hour,” McCraw said. “I like the ideas of doing a Plan B, seeing what the plans are for the facility, seeing what the state is planning on doing with it.”
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN