Southwest Virginia Training Center downsizes as closure approaches

By Bethany Teague - Reporter

HILLSVILLE (WSLS 10) - The Southwest Virginia Training Center is now down to less than 100 residents, as it prepares to close its doors for good in June 2018.

The home for adults with developmental challenges is one of four training centers the state will shut down by 2020. Residents must transition into community-based care, such as smaller group homes.

Delegate Israel O'Quinn introduced a bill that would stop the Hillsville facility's closure and although it did not pass, he has vowed to keep fighting.

So far, nearly 100 residents have gone from the center to the community permanently. Seventeen more are currently in the process. Workers said the residents' transitions have been successful and they have worked hard to get them ready for the change.

"Our goal has always been to place people in the community, and our goal here on grounds was to prepare them for that," said longtime training center employee Parke Quesenberry. "Currently, a lot of our folks spend the majority of their time in the community."

The Southwest Virginia Training Center currently employs more than 300 people.

The center hosted a public hearing last week to update stakeholders on the closure process.

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