Published 8:18 am Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Graphic courtesy Bluegrass Community and Technical College
A rendering shows what BCTC Danville’s new advanced manufacturing center could look like once completed. BCTC plans to fundraise $700,000 this summer in order to secure the full $4.7 million needed for the project. Groundbreaking could happen in the spring of 2018.

A groundbreaking for a new advanced manufacturing center that would double the size of three training programs at Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Danville could be a year away.

BCTC is waiting for the state to officially hand over the approximately $2.7 million that was awarded to the Danville campus for the project, BCTC Campus Director Erin Tipton said.

“That should occur after July 1 in the new fiscal year,” Tipton said.

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This summer, BCTC will launch a fundraising campaign in order to get the rest of the money it needs for the approximately $4.7 million project, she said.

In addition to the state “Work Ready” grant, BCTC secured about $450,000 in matching funds from local entities, including manufacturers, the City of Danville and Boyle County Fiscal Court.

That left BCTC close to $1.5 million short of what it needed to build the advanced manufacturing center, Tipton said. BCTC has committed $750,000 of its own funds to the project, meaning the fundraising campaign this summer will have a target of about $700,000, she said.

“We are going to ask for funding from our local and regional industries, also if there are any private citizens or donors who would be interested in supporting the project, and going back to potential organizations that supported us with the first match,” she said.

The state grant funding is coming from the much-publicized $100 million Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative that was launched by Gov. Matt Bevin in July 2016.

BCTC Danville originally requested $5 million to build the center. 

In December, BCTC decreased the amount it was requesting to $4.5 million, and in February, the state awarded it $2.736 million.

The 16,000-square-foot advanced manufacturing center would effectively double the college’s capacity for graduating students in the fields of advanced manufacturing technology, electrical technology and industrial maintenance technology — areas expected to be in high demand from area manufacturers in coming years.

Danville and Boyle County have each committed $50,000 in funding for the project.

“Economic growth and jobs being critical to our future, the primary ingredient to that is workforce and this goes right to that foundation,” Danville Mayor Mike Perros said in August, when BCTC first applied for the grant. “So in my estimation, this is a very important opportunity.”

“I don’t think we can spend money any more wisely than that,” Magistrate Phil Sammons said at the time.

Tipton said following the fundraising campaign, BCTC hopes to put the construction project out for bid this fall.

“We’re looking at sometime in the spring of 2018” for a groundbreaking, she said.