CRANE -- Federal, state and local officials will gather Tuesday to officially cut the ribbon on the $8.6 million WestGate Academy Conferencing and Training Center in a 10 a.m. ceremony.
Ground was broken in late July of 2011 on the 70,000 square feet facility that is expected to accelerate the development and growth of the region, as it will allow NSWC Crane-related major conferences and national training programs to take place in the tech park.
A number of academic institutions have also already established offices in the new facility.
The two-story conference center and business incubator, designed by Dale Ankrom's DEA Architecture firm from Indianapolis, includes a 10,000 square feet conference/ multi-function room (capable of seating more than 500), 22 training classrooms, and approximately 8,000 square feet of office space.
The academy constructed by Krempp Construction Company, of Jasper, will be used for conference and academic institutional space as well as serving as a business incubator and training facility for start-up and early-stage companies expanding their technology capacity on the doorsteps of one of the nation's largest Naval bases and home of innovative technology research and development.
U.S. 8th District Congressman Larry Bucshon (R-Newburgh) will be the keynote speaker for the 10 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony.
Guest speakers will include: Greg Jones, executive director of Southern Indiana Development Commission; Jeanette Tamayo, Regional Director U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA); Chad Pittman, Executive Vice President, Indiana Economic Development Corporation; and U.S. Marine Corps Col. Alan M. Pratt, commanding officer for NSWC Crane Division.
Cary Bledsoe, Executive Vice President of Stimulus Engineering will give remarks.
WestGate at Crane Authority President Kent Parisien will deliver opening and closing remarks.
WestGate Tech Park Executive Director Charlie Selby calls the ribbon cutting a historic day for the region.
"The Academy provides the area with a 'Front Door' to the technology that is being developed at and near the Crane Naval
Base. Universities will have a place to conduct training that is relevant to the Crane workforce in close proximity to the base. Folks wishing to incubate technology that is developed by the over 1100
engineers and 50 PhDs located on Crane, into commercial markets will
also have a place to do so," he said."By providing conferencing space near the
science center, we will be able to showcase the best that Indiana has
to offer to the world."
The academy is located in the Daviess County sector of the tech park, near the Crane Federal Credit Union on WestGate Drive.
The U.S. Commerce announced in July, 2011 that a $6.6 million U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant has been awarded to the WestGate at Crane Authority and the Southern Indiana Development Commission to help build the WestGate Academy.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered the WestGate Authority up to $1 million from the Technology Development Grant Fund as a local match to the EDA grant.
Additional funding for the project came from WestGate Authority funds, and the Daviess County Economic Development Foundation.