CRANE, IND. (WTHI) - A southern Indiana tech park officially opens its centerpiece.
The $9-million WestGate Academy opened its doors with hundreds of officials and community leaders on hand.
The facility is being called the model for economic development for the 21st century.
Officials of all kinds lined up to cut the ribbon on the new Westgate Academy.
The project is the centerpiece for new development here.
"It's very rewarding to see this come to fruition," said Don Bowling with the Westgate Authority.
The Academy is a 64,000 square foot building that is projected to build 200 new jobs in companies that right now may not even exist.
"This is the crucial component of this technology park to move forward because it can bring so much in here," President of the Westgate Authority Kent Parisian.
Perhaps the best way to describe the facility is that it is the ultimate utility building for a tech park.
The academy will have classes from several colleges going on inside.
There will be conferences on transferring technology and there's even going to be a place where small businesses can get their start.
"This is a game changer," said Chuck LaSota with the new Battery Innovation Center now under construction at WestGate. "The fact that not only will be be doing the technology here, doing the development, but we'll be able to bring leaders from across the country here to be a part of that technology development."
Development that will also help the Crane Navy base 3 miles away.
"Sharing that knowledge for the folks out here outside the fence line, I'm sure will seep inside the fence line," said Crane Commander Colonel Alan Pratt. "That will impact some of the things that we're doing at Naval Surface Warfare Center at Crane."
The anticipation is that the facility will be the catalyst for developing technology and new jobs for decades to come.
The Westgate Academy received a large portion of its funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and is the largest single project for EDA in the Midwest.
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