Groundbreaking Held for Faith-Based Student Housing - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Groundbreaking Held for Faith-Based Student Housing

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Construction on the WVU campus is not hard to find, and neither is bad behavior.

A lot behind First Presbyterian Church on Spruce Street will soon be faith based student living. Which is a first for not only WVU, but universities across the nation. Builders hopefully give students who want to remain on a sober living path a place to meet and live.

"There's this aura about WVU. And I mean, a stigma even, about kind of the downtown activities that go on," said Will Armentrout, WVU alumnus. "And to have a faith based housing that's going directly against some of those notions I think that's a fantastic statement."

The building has been in the works for about eight years.

Chet Parsons, a member of the Harless Center Board of Directors, said it started when the Central School was put up for sale by the Monongalia County Board of Education. He said it was the perfect opportunity for the First Presbyterian Church to start working more with college students.

"Whether you have lots of faith, whether you have no faith, or whether you're still developing your faith to be able to come in and have an open forum to talk with students, really bring the conversations to the forefront," Parsons said. "Because right now we think there isn't that kind of opportunity at WVU."

As easy as it is to find construction on the WVU campus, It's just as easy to find destructive behavior. That's what the creators of the Harless Center are trying to put an end to.

"We're going to provide a safe haven for 228 students who are going to be able to find their peers, and friendships, and programs," said Jerry Stone, Harless Center Board of Directors. "So they don't have to get caught up in that lifestyle. Which is destructive."

Residents will be asked to sign a three page code of conduct before moving in. The 'Code of Social Responsibility' includes rules like no drugs or alcohol on the premises, even if the resident is 21.

The building will also not be for a specific faith.

"It's for students to come from all different walks of life, all different brands of faith if you will, to come together and discuss a lot of what's going on in their personal lives, as well as where they want to be in the future," Armentrout said. "It's a very cool multidimensional faith journey."

The Harless Center will have six floors of apartment style living. It will also host programs on Saturday nights for students who want to socialize without participating in the downtown Morgantown scene.

Harless Center is looking for students and mentors to start leasing for May 2015.

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