On Monday, West Virginia State University announced the opening of a new center coming to Capitol Street in downtown Charleston.

The new center, WVSU Downtown, will be a social and academic hub taking over the first and lower floor of the Kanawha Banking and Trust Building.

WVSU President Ericke Cage announced the development of the new center during the university’s inauguration week celebrations. “It’s an important day for West Virginia State University but also for the City of Charleston,” Cage said.

West Virginia State University President Ericke Cage announcing plans for WVSU Downtown

According to Cage, WVSU has been working on finding a space in the area for about six months, as having a presence in Charleston has been been a long-term goal for the university.

The downtown center will have academic space for programs like cybersecurity and will also have extension programs, like support for grand families.

“We really wanted to find a space that would connect us to downtown Charleston, a space that had history and prominence, and this facility checks all those boxes,” Cage said.

According to WCHS, the gathering space will be a big component of the center. It will be used to connect alumni with the community, “hoping to open their doors for events like ArtWalk, FestivALL, and the Regatta to show off student work and increase visibility for the university.

Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin says WVSU Downtown will bring the university and the community together.

“West Virginia State University has always been a great player, but it does make a difference having this physical presence – having logos on the door – having people come and go,” she said. “The synergy that it’s going to bring to the city and the university is monumental.”

Mark Kelley, who chairs the WVSU Board of Governors, said that the opening of the center signifies that the university is “moving forward in a positive direction.”

“I believe this is the next evolution of the West Virginia State University story, an opportunity for us to continue to advance our mission of transforming lives through education and improving our community,” Cage told Metro News.

Renovation work on the inside of the building will begin soon and the downtown center is expected to open up in the fall.