Justice announces second ChalleNGe Academy; institution planned for Montgomery

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Two lawmakers are optimistic following Gov. Jim Justice’s announcement of a second Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy in West Virginia.

The governor, during his State of the State address on Wednesday, announced a second such institution in Montgomery. The town is mostly located in Fayette County.

The Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy mentors at-risk teenagers using a military environment. The current lone academy is located in Preston County. The second campus would be at the former WWVU Tech campus.

Sen. Dave Sypolt, R-Preston, applauded the news.

“There are plenty of cadets for two locations. I’m sure there’s not going to be a problem at all with that,” he said. “I wish them all the best wishes.”

Delegate Larry Rowe, D-Kanawha, represents Montgomery in the House of Delegates.

“We have dormitory space there. BridgeValley (Community and Technical College) has done a good job of utilizing a number of the buildings,” he said. “There is some sense that we’ll have some economic development in Montgomery. It’s very desperate there.”

Justice did not give a timeline for when the new Academy would open. Last year’s budget did not provide any additional funding for increasing enrollment at the first institution to 600 students.