Economic Impact Study Findings on WV Wesleyan Released - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Economic Impact Study Findings on WV Wesleyan Released

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BUCKHANNON -

Folks in Buckhannon were talking about West Virginia Wesleyan, and its impact on the local economy.

The study looks at the economic impacts associated with the college, and the spending of students, faculty and staff and affiliated organizations.

"We get asked all the time about what our economic impact is, and it's mostly conjecture until you get the people putting together the information together for us," said Barry Pritts, West Virginia Wesleyan's vice president for finance.

Faculty from West Virginia Wesleyan, along with city and county leaders gathered to hear a report that documented the economic impacts with the operation of the college and the economies of Upshur, Lewis, and Randolph counties. A 2005 study was updated Tuesday.

"We thought it was important to try and update it, and make it more specific to West Virginia Wesleyan, and its impact on the region and on the state. So we engaged a consulting firm to make that happen," Pritts said.

Tom Witt is the managing director and chief economist of Witt Economics. He said a significant number of jobs are generated due to the impact Wesleyan has on the region and in the state.

"I think one of the key takeaways though is, Wesleyan attracts more than half of their student body outside of the state that otherwise might not come to West Virginia, except for Wesleyan's presence, and that adds to its economic impact," Witt said.

The economic impacts from this study are conservative. City and county officials said results from this study economic growth will benefit those living and working in this region.

"600 jobs that's quite an impact in this community. I can imagine what finishing Corridor H is going to do," Steve Foster, of Upshur County Development Authority.

"When you got institutions like Wesleyan, which can draw people here, and expose this area to awful a lot of the population over there, it makes a huge difference. People spend money when they travel. More importantly attract people long term, and who professionally want to locate here," Foster said.

The economic impact methodology used in this study was provided by the Implan input output modeling system. You can read the full study here.