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BC3 Armstrong County campus gets further funding

BC3 @ Amstrong in Manor Township is still under construction, but the complex is expected to be ready for use in spring 2023. Submitted Photo

Butler County Community College received a $2 million grant through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to be used for expenses related to its new two-story campus building currently under construction in Ford City.

The college broke ground for the anticipated 15,000-square-foot facility at 1100 Fourth Ave. in Ford City in February. It is expected to be ready to replace the current BC3 @ Armstrong campus in Manor Township during the spring 2023 semester.

According to BC3 president Nick Neupauer, this is the second RACP grant the college has received for the Armstrong County project, the first being for $1.75 million. He said the grants put a large dent in the estimated $7 million construction cost of the facility, which will have six classrooms, office space, a student lounge, study rooms, a multipurpose room and a computer lab.

“We could not be more thrilled,” Neupauer said Thursday. “Every dollar we raise comes off our lease. Whether it be for the Phillips building or the Armstrong campus. Every dollar helps.”

The college leases its current campus space in Manor Township through Lenape Technical School, and the facility has two classrooms and office space. Once completed, the new facility will be owned by the Nonprofit Development Corporation of Butler County, and BC3 will lease the building.

A Wednesday news release from the office of state Sen. Joe Pittman, R-41st, said the money will be used to “address a critical need for dedicated classrooms, learning space, computer rooms and a science and chemistry laboratory” in Armstrong County.

“This state-of-the-art facility will not only benefit students,” Pittman said, “but it will be a major boost to downtown invigoration efforts, increase tax revenue and help to market Armstrong County.”

The estimated cost of the project was initially $6 million, but Neupauer said inflationary costs have brought the total up to near $7 million. State funding is even more critical because of the increased construction costs, Neupauer said, in addition to the other expenditures related to the building.

“Things have obviously been increasing in costs,” Neupauer said. “All of these dollars help so much, not only with capital expenditures, but with other costs as well.”

In addition to the state funding the project has received, Neupauer said it has also gotten around $220,000 in private funding, as well as $250,000 from the Armstrong County Commissioners.

With the facility expected to be ready in the spring, Neupauer said students will move from the Manor Township campus to the Ford City campus mid-semester. He said the college is also planning a ribbon-cutting for the building once it is ready for students.

With around $4 million raised so far for the building, Neupauer said the new campus will be a good investment for Armstrong County.

“It's going to a great cause, to bring affordable education to Armstrong, on a location that has a significant history of education,” Neupauer said.

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