Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel, presents a ceremonial check representing VCEDA’s final installment in a multi-year loan to the Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority to benefit the Appalachian School of Law. Pictured from left are Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority Chairman Jay Rife; ASL Board of Trustees Member James Keen; ASL Dean Sandy McGlothlin; Belcher; and ASL Development Consultant Will Morefield.

GRUNDY, VA – March 30, 2018 – The third and final installment in a $6 million loan benefitting the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy was presented Thursday at the law school by the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority.

The installment amount was for $1 million, completing delivery of the $6 million funding package initially approved in 2016 by VCEDA to benefit the law school. The funds were presented to the Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority by Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel. The IDA will disburse the funds to ASL.

“We are pleased to be able to continue to assist the Appalachian School of Law in this project aimed at job retention and job creation,” Belcher said. “The funds the law school is receiving for this project are contingent upon the law school meeting additional enrollment performance criteria and we are happy to say they not only met that criteria, but exceeded it.”

Dean Sandy McGlothlin noted the continued support of VCEDA and the Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority have assisted the law school in continuing its mission.

“At ASL, our mission is ‘to provide opportunity for people from Appalachia and beyond to realize their dreams of practicing law and bettering their communities’,” McGlothlin said. “Without the assistance of VCEDA, the IDA, and others in our region, these dreams would not be realized and many individuals would have to navigate the legal system without proper representation.”

One of the parameters which had to be met to access the VCEDA funding was tied to enrollment.Sixty-nine first year law students arrived on campus to start the 2017-2018 academic year. The first-year class included new students, students who started law school in January 2017 and transfer students, representing a more than 80 percent increase in the number of first year students compared to fall 2016.

Nineteen states are represented in this year’s first year class who hail from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

First year students joined second and third year students on campus, bringing total enrollment to 130.

VCEDA’s support of the ASL project dates back to 1996 when the idea to build a law school in Grundy first emerged.

“The Appalachian School of Law is an important piece of the economic development picture in Buchanan County,” Belcher said. “It was an innovative approach to view education as an economic driver and now, more than 20 years later, the school continues to meet the needs of those seeking to further their education and to earn a law degree. At the same time, it continues to enhance the community and to provide jobs.”