Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell had good news for the entire region Friday afternoon.
Rendell announced an additional $850,000 in state funding for the Gregory Barnes Center for Biotechnology Business Development at Clarion University during a ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening at the facility located in Monroe Township’s Trinity Point Development near I-80.
Although his schedule did not permit him to attend in person, the Governor joined the program via telephone and soon electrified the crowd.
“To be sure, the Barnes Center will mean so much for the northwestern Pennsylvania region in terms of jobs and attracting additional private investments that will help to revitalize the region,” said Rendell.
Highlighting the local leadership that brought the Center to reality over a ten-year period, including Clarion University President Joseph Grunenwald and the Clarion Trinity Development Co., the Governor cited the initial $1.2 million gift from retired faculty member Gregory Barnes that propelled the project.
“I want to start off by acknowledging the generosity of Mr. Barnes who couldn’t be with us today but is being represented by his daughter Laura,” continued Rendell. “His contribution of $1.2 million is one of the largest contributions by any Clarion University donor and is a testament to the opportunities that this high tech facility promises.
Additional $850,000 project funding: it’s all about economic development
“That’s why the state has stepped up and invested four and a quarter million dollars to date in the Barnes Center at Trinity Point, but I’m also pleased to announce today that we’re going to continue investing in the project to help bring it further along. We’re announcing another $850,000 investment through our Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program (RCAP) to help complete the third floor, outfit it with office space, technology, and equipment that will enable companies like NanoBlox and Clarion Research Group to come into the center and continue their research and development work.
“All totaled, this will be over a $5 million commitment on behalf of the Commonwealth. I’d like to thank Senator (Mary Jo) White for her leadership in enacting the original economic stimulus program that has allowed the Commonwealth to do so much … so many good things in a short period of time.
“Representative (Donna) Oberlander, there are many things that we disagree on in Harrisburg when it comes to Republican, Democrat, conservative, progressive…but there is always one thing we agree on is the need for economic growth and development. I want to thank the senator and the representative for their hard work. Congratulations to a great project at the business center for a great Clarion University. I hope it is going to be a big success.”
Ribbon Cutting Program
Charles P. Leach, Sr., president of the Clarion University Foundation, served as emcee for the program that also offered remarks from Laura Barnes, daughter of Gregory Barnes, Tim Reddinger representing Clarion Trinity Development Co., Peter Winkler representing U.S. Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, State Senator Mary Jo White, State Representative Donna Oberlander, and Grunenwald.
The Gregory Barnes Center for Biotechnology Business Development represents Clarion University and Clarion University Foundation, Inc.’s vision for economic development in the region. The building is owned and operated by the Clarion University Foundation, Inc.
The center houses local economic support organizations, including the Small Business Development Center and Trinity Development Co.; newly formed biotechnology and nanotechnology companies, including Clarion Research Group (CRG) and NanoBlox; and Clarion University’s new Center for Applied Research and Intellectual Property Development, part of the university’s College of Business Administration.
The three-story, brick-veneer, steel-frame building was designed to meet the Silver certification level of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. The current 23,000 square-foot building offers one-quarter of the potential space available. Three more pod areas are ready for development that could expand the Barnes Center to 80,000 square feet.