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BCTC has $650K of $1M needed for advanced manufacturing center

Danville’s Bluegrass Community and Technical College is getting closer to reaching its goal of raising the $1 million it needs to secure a state grant for nearly $3 million it received early last year. The money will allow BCTC to build a new advanced manufacturing center.

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

As of this week, campus director Erin Tipton said about $650,000 had already been raised, leaving more than $300,000 needed.

“We have a little more work to do,” she said.

Tipton said she feels very positive about reaching the $1 million mark. “It’s been so encouraging to see how many organizations, industries and banks” have rallied around this project, she said.

“The amount of support from our manufacturing partners, city and county governments, banking partners and civic organizations in our region has been overwhelming,” Tipton said. “This support shows the commitment and support of these partners in our region of the programming BCTC Danville provides to develop and train a skilled workforce.”

The project will be even closer to reality in July, Tipton said, when the school begins its bidding process with a request for proposal (RFP) from architects. She expects the facility to be about 16,000 to 18,000 square feet.

Tipton said once an artist’s rendering of the building is finished, another fundraising campaign will target individual donations from the public. This campaign will also demonstrate to the communities BCTC serves — Boyle, Mercer, Garrard, Lincoln Washington and Casey counties — how important the new center will be for continued economic development in their hometowns.

“A recent survey of our manufacturing base in the four- to five-county area BCTC Danville campus serves shows that in the next three to five years, there will be a need for over 300 skilled individuals in the area of advanced manufacturing,” she said.

The addition of the advanced manufacturing center will increase the number of students able to enroll in the manufacturing, electrical and industrial maintenance technology programs at BCTC from 38 to about 80 students annually, she said.

Tipton noted area industries are expanding, such as TransNav and Denyo. As they need more skilled employees, BCTC is expanding its capacity for more students to meet their needs.

The average salaries for graduates of BCTC’s technical programs is about $45,000 to $55,000 a year. She said those figures can be earned right after completing a 2-year degree.

Also, Tipton said BCTC is seeing more females enter the technical programs, which traditionally have been male-dominated.

The new learning facility will be designed with labs and classrooms resembling a working environment students can expect to see in an existing industrial environment, Tipton said.

Once the advanced manufacturing center is up and running, the space it once occupied will be available for Danville’s BCTC to possibly add additional programs at a later date, Tipton said.

“We’re in the planning stages right now,” she said.

SO YOU KNOW

The current list of donors includes:

• $100,000 and Above: Boyle County Industrial Foundation.

• $50,000 to $99,999: Boyle County Fiscal Court; Caterpillar, Inc.; City of Danville; Corning Incorporated; Harrodsburg-Mercer County Industrial Development Authority.

 • $10,000 to $49,999: Farmers National Bank; Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas Inc.; Inter-County Energy; Kentucky Trust Company; Rotary Club of Danville; Stanford-Lincoln County Industrial Development Authority.

• Up to $9,999: anonymous donor; City of Harrodsburg; Denyo Manufacturing Corporation; Hobart; Jim Jacobus; Mark Manuel; Mercer County Fiscal Court; Lancaster-Garrard County Industrial Development Authority; PBK Bank of Stanford; Stephen and Dorothy Rinehart; Damon Talley; Tarter Farm and Ranch Equipment; Erin Tipton; Trim Masters Charitable Foundation Inc.; Alan Turbyfill; Richard Webb.