York College awarded $6-million grant from PA RACP to create Knowledge Park
York College will receive a $6-million grant from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) to create a Knowledge Park on the 40-acre site of the former Schmidt Ault paper mill. The College's award was among a number announced on Aug. 1 by Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) and Gov. Tom Wolf's office.
York College purchased the site more than a decade ago and has maintained it since then, waiting for an appropriate future use. "Conversations with members of the York College family helped us identify that potential future use, a Knowledge Park, and we began actively exploring it through the submission of a RACP grant," said York College Assistant Vice President for External Relations Jeff Vermeulen.
The former paper mill property was purchased by York College in 2008 after extensive demolition and environmental abatement. RACP funds will be used for construction expenses associated with converting three of four buildings that remain on the site into a Knowledge Park, which would allow for expansion of current efforts underway at York College’s J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship. The Center's business incubator is at capacity with existing companies, some of which are ready to “hatch” and have a desire to remain connected to the College.
"This new venture would allow us to grow our partnerships with companies, agencies, nonprofits or organizations that will provide programmatic connections to York College through student experiential-learning opportunities and collaboration with our faculty," said York College President Pamela Gunter-Smith. "Joining forces with Knowledge Park partners gives us the opportunity to create a project-based learning laboratory on our campus."
The buildings to be repurposed include the King House, which will become the administrative support center for the complex. Interior and exterior features will be repaired/upgraded as needed to serve the complex while maintaining the historic charm of the structure. The West End Warehouse will offer a dramatic entrance to the complex by introducing natural light, high ceilings, large spaces, and mezzanines. The Kings Mill Warehouse will serve as the interior crossroads of the complex with elevators, skylights and large space meeting/assembly/office areas.
"We believe this healthy expansion to our North Campus would make for a vastly improved entryway to York City and the Codorus Creek," Gunter-Smith said. "This project will be a true college/community partnership that helps improve the City and our campus while serving to create high-skill/high-wage employment opportunities for our students and alumni."
"I am pleased to work with York College President Gunter-Smith and her team on this important project that will benefit not only our region, but our entire commonwealth," said Phillips-Hill. "With a major need for high tech and cyber-related training, this forward-thinking plan by York College will boost our region’s emergence as a top location for a highly skilled, trained and technical workforce. This investment will ensure York County will be home to one of the most cutting-edge institutions that leads to family sustaining careers for many years and will pay major dividends back to the local and state economies.”
RACP is administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. RACP projects are authorized in the Redevelopment Assistance section of a Capital Budget Itemization Act, have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact, and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity.