Advanced manufacturing groundbreaking set for next week

Published 6:26 pm Tuesday, September 3, 2019

A groundbreaking ceremony next week will signal the start of construction on the new advanced manufacturing center at Danville’s Bluegrass Community and Technical College campus.

The groundbreaking is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 12. It will be attended by many local and regional officials, including BCTC Danville Campus Director Michelle Carter, BCTC President Koffi Akakpo, Education and Workforce Development Deputy Secretary Mike Nemes, Kentucky Community and Technical College System President Jay Box, state Sen. Rick Girdler, state Rep. Daniel Elliott, Boyle County Judge-Executive Howard Hunt III, Danville Mayor Mike Perros and Erin Tipton, the former director of the BCTC Danville campus.

Tipton spearheaded the successful grant application and community fundraising effort that made the $3.73 million project possible. She is now director of technical programs for KCTCS.

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The new advanced manufacturing center (AMC) will be a 13,780-square-foot facility at the Danville BCTC campus in the Boyle County Industrial Park. It will effectively double the college’s capacity in three high-demand programs: advanced manufacturing technology, electrical technology and industrial maintenance technology.

The expansion will include three new classrooms. There will also be four lab spaces with high bay ceilings, robotics and other equipment designed to replicate the industrial environment students aim to secure jobs in.

The new graduates being produced by BCTC are expected to be walking out into a good job market: Kentucky Labor Market information estimates nearly 800 expected position openings in the three program areas over the next five years, just within the Bluegrass Area Development District alone.

BCTC originally sought $5 million from the state through the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative launched by Gov. Matt Bevin in 2016. In 2017, BCTC reduced its request to $4.5 million, and in 2018, the state awarded $2.736 million.

That funding came with a big string attached: BCTC needed to fundraise $1 million in local contributions in order to get it.

In January of this year, the City of Danville and Boyle County Fiscal Court voted to contribute an extra $78,000 each to cover the last $156,000 needed and hit the $1 million mark. Both governments had previously contributed $50,000 to help land the grant in the first place. Here’s a complete list of contributors:

• $100,000 and above: Boyle County Fiscal Court; Boyle County Industrial Foundation Inc.; and the City of Danville

• $50,000-$99,000: Caterpillar Inc.; Corning Inc. Foundation; Harrodsburg-Mercer County Industrial Development Authority; Inter-County Energy; and Whitaker Foundation

• $10,000-$49,000: Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership Inc.; Farmers National Bank; Hitachi Automotive Systems America Inc.; Kentucky Trust Co.; Rotary Club of Danville; and Stanford-Lincoln County Industrial Development Authority

• $1,000-$9,999: Alan Turbyfill; American Greetings; Anonymous; Central KY Regional Jobs Training; City of Harrodsburg; Denyo Manufacturing Corporation; Hobart; PBK Bank of Stanford; Stephen and Dorothy Rinehart; Robinson Hughes & Christopher PSC; William Shaver; Damon Talley; Tarter Farm and Ranch Equipment; Trim Masters Charitable Foundation Inc.; and Richard Webb.

• BCTC received at least 18 additional gifts ranging in value from $20 to $600 from companies, governments and individual donors.