Last year's Glenville State College's Alumni Day was one of the best ones ever. And, I hope that everyone, with whom I got to chat and/or reminisce will be back again on this weekend. For me, it was a great fun time.
This year, though, may be perplexing to some alumni who haven't been back to Glenville in some time. For one thing, you, like our local citizens, may have to wait in traffic, due to the city's utility's $3.2 million waterline replacement project. Main Street was one way on this past Monday, so Court and High Streets up at the college may be impacted by the working people by this weekend. In spite of the inconvenience, be mindful that this construction is progress that will help not only the city's residents, but also the college's professors, students and staff. After all, the waterlines that are being replaced are over 40 years old, rusted, corroded and leaky.
On the other side of the coin is the college's bright and spectacular WACO Center, a brand new and spacious facility which vaults your school above its peer higher education institutions from all around the state. In this visionary $25 million college center, its large arena will, ultimately, be able to seat approximately 4,000 people for sporting events, national entertainer's concerts, and numerous major school events, including the graduations.
On that latter point, I'd like to point out that the old PE Building is hot, too crowded, and cramped for GSC's commencement exercises nowadays. Moreover, it is handicapped accessible now, but only with great efforts by the support staff.
Besides the arena, you'll walk through the new GSC Land Resources & Surveying Division, which had been in Eberle Hall - razed for the construction of the new facility. If Eberle Hall was memorable and nostalgic to you, just look at the department's new facilities in the WACO Center in order to appreciate what today's students have, in contrast to your "Golden Years" on campus. The Land Resources professors tell me that it's easier to teach in the new quarters, and the classrooms are large enough to accommodate all of the students who want to major in forestry, oil and gas management, surveying, etc. Moreover, due to this new departmental headquarters, we editors are sure that more students can be attracted to come here and that the top notch staff members will stay.
In addition, the college is establishing a modern medical facility in the building's west end (next to the football field). The current rumor circulating is that it will be up-and-running by this month's end.
Certainly, this landmark building is one of the crowning achievements of its many donors, lead and encouraged by the WACO Oil & Gas Company's I.L. "Ike" and Sue Morris. Hence, the name: "WACO Center."
Then, while you're walking around that east end, take a side stroll over to the football field. You'll notice the new fancy box for the college's dignitaries and donors to watch the football games, a program of which Head Coach Dave Hutchison is building up. This next football season promises to be a good one, too.
In the downtown
You'll have your choice for dining! Notice the Pizza Hut, Audrey's Family Restaurant and Smokehouse.
Also, across the street from the Post Office is a new sandwich shop, The Daily Bread. The young couple who own it have a soup of the day as well, especially during the weekdays.
Sadly, nothing is in the GSC Small Business Center, the old home of the Java City Coffee Shop. What's going in there, if anything, is still being kept secret by college officials. (We editors, at this newspaper, are prepared to help them, but we have to be told what's planned for it and they have to be ready to promote any new venture(s) that are coming there. Gilmer Countians have a right to know what's up there, and, then, they'll support it.)
Also, as you drive around the downtown area and the Brooklyn neighborhood where you may have roomed and boarded when attending GSC, you can't miss all of the vacant lots. Much substandard housing was leveled by the Smith Land Company, owned by GSC grad, Greg Smith. By next year's Alumni Day, these vacant lots will be filled with beautiful new apartment complexes. He rightly points out that we, in Glenville, don't have enough modern housing for faculty, students, the Oil & Gas Industry families, retirees and the general public to live in. Most of our houses are old and inadequate for the people of today who expect certain amenities, like nice, cheerful rooms, up-to-scale electric and plumbing, easy parking, etc.
Congratulations to Greg Smith for starting up this new company and hiring an army of local trades people to demolish and build the new housing units!
Ditto for Hays City!
Please stop by the new Sue Morris Sports Complex, because it is a gem to see. If a girls softball or boys baseball game isn't being played, or even if they are, you're welcome to stroll around the very nice walking trail in order to view all of the different features of this modern park.
The softball fields are so nice that they attracted the attention of the National Softball Association last year. Then, they brought the American Girls Softball Team here for a couple of exhibition games with this area's all-stars.
Then, after all of the activities on campus which have been worked up for your and the public's pleasure, you are welcome to attend our area's churches on Sunday, before traveling home.
Thanks to kind friends!
Before Easter Sunday, I got a terrific boost in spirit this year from Gary and Iva Rogers, of Georgetown, DE. They sent me a nice Easter card, very cheerful and uplifting. They would, in particular, enjoy the Glenville State College festivities during Alumni Day Weekend, for Gary's a 1967 graduate, and a very proud one at that. But, they are still working teachers.
Well, thanks kind folks, Gary and Iva, for your uplift!
Also, this Alumni Day I look forward to reuniting with my Super GSC Alumna friend, Margaret Miller Goodwin, of Goodwin Residence Hall fame and a proud native of Glenville! She's a regular hostess at the Alumni House.
Sexual Assault Awareness
Tiffany Smith, the Case Manager for HOPE, Inc., has stressed to us editors that April is "Sexual Assault Awareness Month" in Gilmer County.
For those who need her help or advice, she can be reached at the Courthouse and her phone number is: 304-462-5352.
Kudos to Tiffany!
Melvin Wine Tribute
At 7 p.m. on this Sat., Apr. 26, a Melvin Wine Tribute Concert will take place at the Landmark Studio on Main Street in Sutton. Donations will be accepted at the door.
The late Mr. Wine was an expert fiddler from Braxton County who'd light up the crowds during the Fiddle Contests for over 50 years at the annual Folk Festival here. People from the world over came to hear him play his traditional Appalachian folk music. He died at about 100, as I recall. Thus, the upcoming tribute for those in attendance should be a beautiful step back in time.
Night at the Races
A lot of local people are getting extremely interested in GSC Coach Charles Marshall's proposed "Pioneer Derby. His staff and team, along with many county businesses, are sponsoring a "Kentucky Derby" style "Night at the Races" fund-raising party. It's a benefit for the GSC Lady Pioneers basketball program.
This colorful and timely event, as it takes place on the night before this year's Kentucky Derby, was, no doubt, inspired by the respect and energy that Lady Pioneers Coach Charles Marshall has brought to this season's MEC Championship team, and in placing the GSC program on a sound foundation for future years.
The gala fund-raiser will take place from 7-to-10 p.m. on Fri., May 2 at the Pioneer Grille. Call the Athletic Dept. for tickets and details at 304-462-7351.
This event is a valid reason for any alumnus or alumna to return to Glenville to support our championship-winning Lady Pioneer team.
"Create West Virginia"
One final suggestion to visiting GSC alumni: come back, also, for this October's "Create WV" Conference/Festival. It promises not only to be fun, but also to open up new vistas, worlds and enterprises for anyone who attends. State and national speakers will present their novel and money-making ideas, while artists display their creations and musicians play their hearts out. It should be both enjoyable and informational - well worth your returning to Glenville and Gilmer County.
Oh, and its cofounder, Jeff James, is a native of Glenville and attended GSC. He's now an entrepreneur in Charleston, and his father may have been one of your professors.
The alumni of any college are that college's best friends, for it's their mirror into a past golden years period for them - learning and fun, cheering on the teams and rejoicing in the big wins, burning the midnight oil and making the grade, and, finally, graduating and celebrating four long years of study and achievement. It's their alma mater. So, GSC alumni, enjoy your day here in Glenville ... and relive those memories with good friends!
There's a "Business After 5 P.M. Social Hour" that you're invited to attend at "WV Vapors" on Main Street, across from Audrey's. It starts at 5 p.m. on this Thurs., Apr. 24 with a walk through of this new business, managed by a young GSC graduate. Free refreshments are also available and you can't beat that. This business initiative is a joint project between this newspaper and GSC.