MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In the coming months, the West Virginia Academy (WVA), the first brick-and-mortar charter in the state, will begin construction on a new multipurpose facility adjacent to the Falling Waters neighborhood in the Cheat Lake area.

On WAJR’s “Talk of the Town,” WVA Chairman John Treu said the project will be partially funded with the $500,000 winnings from the Yass Prize. In the third year of operations, WVA won the prize referred to as the Pulitzer Prize for Education.

“We call it a cultural hall because it’s not just athletics; it’s also for the arts,” Treu said. “It will be a facility with a theater, basketball courts, and a few other things that support that mission,” Treu said.

The facility will be located on about 19 acres near Cheat Lake Park and Coopers Rock State Forest, which are already under lease by the academy.

“We can already start doing some things on it,” Treu said. “We’re hoping to make that move in the next couple of months, when we’re breaking ground and moving forward with the gym facility.”

The learning philosophy of the academy focuses heavily on what learners will pursue into adulthood. Treu said their mandatory music program familiarizes students with instruments like piano, guitar, and bass rather than marching band-related instruments.

“We actually focus on basketball, track, and cross country, and we’re actually looking to add golf,” True said. “Those are sports that tend to be played into adulthood, and that’s why I picked those.”

Plans to operate a pilot program from the Preston County Youth Center (PCYC) in Masontown have been scrapped due to low demand. But the Masontown facility will continue to be used for sports purposes and PCYC is considering some academic offerings.

“With a micro-school, you don’t need to have quite the same level of demand to operate,” Treu said. “That wouldn’t be run by us, but that would be run by the Preston County Youth Center (PCYC) that’s doing great things.”

The West Virginia Academy has an enrollment of about 300 students.