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ARC pledges $500K to NCI’s new building

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

The New College Institute will get $500,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to use toward the construction of its new building on the Dana O. Baldwin Block in uptown Martinsville.

The money is part of $2.2 million in ARC grants, announced by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development on Monday, for efforts to create jobs, develop the workforce and foster entrepreneurism statewide, according to a release.

Also among grant recipients, the Martinsville-based GENEDGE Alliance will get $100,000 to help industries overcome some of their challenges.

The ARC is a federal-state partnership involved in economic development and community sustainability efforts in areas surrounding the Appalachian Mountains in 13 states, according to its website.

Site preparation is under way for the institute’s new three-story, 50,000-square-foot building, which will house academic programs being created in advanced manufacturing, entrepreneurism and health care.

While he was glad to find out about the $500,000 grant, William Wampler, the institute’s executive director, said “there are still many hurdles to jump” to raise enough funds to construct the building.

Construction has been estimated to cost $15 million. Wampler emphasized, though, that the institute will not know the exact cost until after it gets bids from contractors, which is expected later this month.

The Harvest Foundation has pledged up to $8 million toward construction, and the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission is contributing $5 million, officials have said.

That money and the ARC grant are the only funding sources tapped for the construction so far, Wampler said. He noted, however, that the institute has applied for federal Economic Development Administration funds and will seek a state Community Development Block Grant to use toward construction.

Private donations also are sought through the New College Foundation. The institute is not saying how much so far has been raised but Wampler said he is “very pleased” with the $2 million fundraising campaign’s progress.

Formerly known as Virginia’s Philpott Manufacturing Extension Partnership, GENEDGE strives to help industries statewide grow through innovation.

Executive Director Jeff Kohler said GENEDGE will use its $100,000 grant from the ARC to expand its E3 program to Henry County and Martinsville.

The grant is being matched by a tobacco commission grant, he said.

E3 is part of a federal strategy to help manufacturers overcome challenges they face related to the economy, energy and the environment. Kohler said the money will help GENEDGE assess companies’ needs in those three areas and create strategies to handle those needs.

Until now, E3 services have been provided only in Danville, Pittsylvania County and southwestern Virginia because funding for the initiative was provided by sources focused on those areas, Kohler said.

GENEDGE, through E3, has helped Danville/Pittsylvania manufacturers save money by achieving efficiencies in lighting, inventory reduction, wastewater treatment, using forklifts and other areas of operation, according to Kohler. He said he did not have permission to identify the companies.

Neither Wampler nor Kohler were aware of the ARC grants being provided until they were told by the Martinsville Bulletin.

 

 
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