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Hocking College Energy Institute awarded federal Economic Development Administration grant

Hocking College Energy Institute awarded federal Economic Development Administration grant

NELSONVILLE - A $1.6 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to Hocking College for the Hocking College Energy Institute was announced by U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez.  It is expected 90 new jobs and $3.4 million in private investment will result from this project, according to Gutierrez.

“This investment in Hocking College will help generate a commercial environment that will attract entrepreneurs, businesses and capital,” said Gutierrez.

 Bill Rinehart, Logan-Hocking Chamber of Commerce executive director, said the Hocking County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) and Hocking College have been working on the grant for more than two years.  “We are ecstatic,” said Rinehart. “This will jump start the economic development in Hocking County. Everyone in Hocking County will see an improvement in industry over the next five to 10 years.”

 The Hocking College Energy Institute is being constructed next to the Logan-Hocking Industrial Park.  This project is the first phase of several building pods and additional sections will be added as needed.

 “The grant is the kickoff for the Hocking College Energy Institute and we’re working to secure additional funds for this project.  We’re still awaiting official award notification from EDA,” said Jerry Hutton, Hocking College Energy Institute director.

Elected officials who made the grant their number one project for the region include Ohio Senator George Voinovich and Ohio Congressman Zack Space.  Hutton also credits Bret Allphin, Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District (BH-HVRDD); Luther Liggett, Bricker & Eckler LLC, Columbus, and Rinehart for significant contributions toward the grant effort.

“This is major and it required a lot of cooperation from a lot of people.  We’re really excited to finally see everyone’s hard work payoff,” Hutton said.

According to Dr. Roy Palmer, Hocking College senior vice president, “Building this facility in Hocking County, one of the college’s main service areas, will launch an additional campus for Hocking College.  This project and locating it in Hocking County have been at the top of President John Light’s priority lists for several years.  We’re pleased to see it become a reality.”

The Hocking College Energy Institute is the lab where technicians in the alternative energy areas of fuel cells, wind and solar power, bio fuels, and hybrid vehicles will train.  The facility is expected to open in fall of 2008.