August 01, 2011

Rockefeller, Manchin, Capito, Rahall Applaud $5 Million Grant For West Virginia Regional Technology Park

CHARLESTON, W.VA. – Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, along with Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito and Congressman Nick Rahall, today applauded an announcement that the West Virginia Regional Technology Park (Tech Park) will receive a $5.25 million grant from the federal government to renovate a major lab building on the South Charleston campus. Rockefeller, Manchin, Capito and Rahall worked on behalf of the Tech Park to get the grant. 

This award, which comes through the state Higher Education Policy Commission, is the largest grant this year and will allow the state to refurbish Building 770 as part of a broad effort to establish the Park as an anchor piece of the West Virginia Regional Innovation Cluster, a geographic concentration of similar firms and industries – focused on research in energy, chemicals and materials – that supports economic growth.

“There is new life in the Tech Park, and new hope that it will be an ongoing source of pride and economic progress not only for the Kanawha Valley, but also for the entire state,” said Senator Rockefeller. “With this grant, we will see one of the Park’s landmark lab buildings turn into a modern facility ripe for additional research jobs, innovations and discoveries. And we’ll be one significant stride closer to greater technology-based economic development in West Virginia.”

“In these challenging times, it is critical that we prioritize our spending on smart investments that will help create the jobs of tomorrow in West Virginia and the nation, and this is a smart investment that will do that,” Senator Manchin said. “I am so proud of initiatives like the West Virginia Regional Technology Park, which is a model of public-private partnership and fosters critically needed economic development for the Mountain State. This EDA grant will help transform the West Virginia Regional Technology Park into a world-class lab facility and a small technology business incubator, creating an essential technology and research hub for Kanawha County and all of West Virginia.”

“Entrepreneurs and innovation will lead us out of these tough economic times.  This generous Economic Development Administration grant will accelerate job creation by awarding local businesses and start-ups much needed resources to grow their business.  The advances made over the next few years at the South Charleston Tech Park will have a positive ripple effect throughout the greater West Virginia and regional economies,” stated Congresswoman Capito. 

“This grant, along with the other resources being committed to the Park, will complement, not compete with, emerging innovative industries throughout Advantage Valley,” said Congressman Rahall.  “You can be sure that southern West Virginia will routinely be culling the resources of the Park, pairing them with Marshall’s and our businesses’ needs and opportunities.” 

“We have always valued the Tech Park for its location, established infrastructure as well as its potential to evolve into a world-class innovation center with good-paying, cutting-edge employment opportunities,” Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said. “I am pleased that the U.S. Economic Development Administration sees the same potential and I anticipate with this grant West Virginia will be able to move forward and cultivate an environment ripe for research and employment growth at the Tech Park.”

“On behalf of the Commission, I would like to thank and applaud Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin for their leadership, vision, and commitment to transform the state’s economy through investments in research and technology,” said Dr. Brian Noland, Chancellor of the Higher Education Policy Commission. “The receipt of funds, in excess of $5 million, from the EDA will allow the State of West Virginia to modernize facilities, enhance competitiveness, spur job creation, and position the Park as a catalyst for economic development.” 


On December 10, 2010, The Dow Chemical Company’s Technology Park in South Charleston transitioned, through a donation from Dow, to state ownership under the Higher Education Policy Commission. As a result of an earlier grant from the EDA, the Commission funded an assessment and development plan that helped map out the Park’s future. 

Senator Rockefeller was involved in and supported the state’s acquisition, helping to facilitate progress during two stalls in the negotiating process. As Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Senator Rockefeller is a strong advocate of science and technology. Under his leadership, Congress passed and the President signed the America COMPETES Act – comprehensive legislation that holds important potential for the Tech Park.

As governor, Senator Manchin was dedicated to the revitalization of the tech park. In February 2010, then-Gov. Manchin secured the former South Charleston Technology Park owned by The Dow Chemical Company, a donation of about $34 million, and announced that the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission would operate the new West Virginia Regional Technology Park.