“2009 will probably be regarded in the future as the year when the WestGate reached its national strategic ‘tipping point',” said Vic Lechtenberg, vice provost of engagement for Purdue University.
Crane, Indiana (PRWEB) December 23, 2009
The year 2010 will be a year of growth in new facilities for the WestGate @ Crane Technology Park, including the construction of a multi-use 60,000 training center that will be capable of hosting national and international technology conferences associated with the $2 billion Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) in southern Indiana. Two other new mixed-use facilities totaling more than 50,000 sq. ft. are also set to break ground in early 2010, according to Dale Ankrom, managing partner of the WestGate @ Crane Development Company.
“2009 will probably be regarded in the future as the year when the WestGate reached its strategic ‘tipping point’ and gained sufficient critical mass to be attractive to technology companies and commercial defense groups across the board,” said Vic Lechtenberg, vice provost of engagement for Purdue University.
The WestGate expanded over the last 36 months to include more than 100,000 sq. ft. of new construction, which is now home to major international defense contractors such as URS/EG&G, SAIC, CAGI, ITT and others, according to Ron Arnold, executive director of the park.
“Certainly the new WestGate Academy will open fresh opportunities for defense technology symposiums and needed space for training, which will bring new attention to the region,” Lechtenberg continued.
Purdue engineering and technology faculty have long been active in serving NSWC Crane through various collaborative research agreements and projects. The WestGate Academy is expected to present new opportunities for Purdue, the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and other area universities to participate in defense technology-focused symposium and NSWC-related training programs.
According to Ankrom, preliminary plans for the $8 million WestGate Academy call for 22 training classrooms, about 8,000 sq. ft. of office space and at least 10,000 sq. ft. of conference and multi-function space.
“The region has long needed a central and convenient facility in which to host training and technology conferences associated with the base,” explained Arnold. “We expect that this two-story facility will find many uses for companies and communities in the area.”
The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, a top-ranked private engineering school located in Terre Haute (Indiana), has maintained a graduate engineering program on the NSWC Crane base for several years.
“We expect that the presence of a new WestGate Academy facility will create new and expanded opportunities for university engagement with the defense companies currently in the WestGate, NSWC Crane contract programs and communities in the region,” said William Kline, director of Rose-Hulman Ventures. Dr. Kline, also Associate Dean of Professional Experiences at Rose-Hulman and professor of engineering management for the Institute, coordinated the graduate Rose-Hulman academic program at NSWC Crane for several years.
Ankrom said that company interest and contract expansion at NSWC Crane was fueling the drive to construct at least two more buildings in the WestGate tech park in 2010.
“The region has been very fortunate in these tough economic times to actually see job growth and expansion as a result of NSWC Crane’s growth in contract acquisition,” Ankrom said. “The WestGate offers a singular advantage for defense companies who need to be close to their customer, and as a result we expect to continue intelligently planned growth throughout the year.”
Funding for the WestGate Academy is expected to be achieved through a combination of funding from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce and local and state funds. About $20 million in private and public funding has been committed to infrastructure growth and development in the WestGate over the past five years.
The Southern Indiana Development Commission in Loogootee, Indiana led by Executive Director Greg Jones, has coordinated the process of applying for EDA funds to support the construction of the WestGate Academy. John Fernandez, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, recently lauded the WestGate for its commitment to technology development and job creation at a recent conference in Indianapolis.
More than 275 new high-technology positions have been created in the WestGate in the past few years. Total employment in the park now exceeds 500 employees.
About WestGate@Crane Technology Park
Qualified as a state Certified Technology Park (CTP) by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), the WestGate @ Crane Technology Park represents a natural marketplace for defense contractors currently providing technical support, and research and development services to the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division in southern Indiana. EG&G, a division of the $2 billion URS corporation, and SAIC, the nation’s 7th largest defense contractor, in addition to ITT, CACI, CSC, Raydar & Associates, Novonics, NAVMAR, Stimulus Engineering and Technical Services Corporation (TSC), already maintain operations in the park. For more information, please visit http://www.westgatecrane.com. For media inquiries, please contact Michael Snyder at The MEK Group: 317-805-4870