A $1.2 million campaign has been kicked off by the East Central College Foundation to raise money to help the college renovate the former Gala Center into a Business and Industry Center.
The Foundation campaign, Building for Success: An Initiative for Tomorrow’s Workforce, will solicit contributions for remodeling the space into a Business and Industry Center that will house ECC’s precision machining, industrial engineering technology and HVAC programs. Lab and classroom space to accommodate non-credit welding classes is also planned for the building. Credit classes in welding will continue to be located at Four Rivers Career Center in Washington through a partnership program with the School District of Washington.
ECC’s Center for Workforce Development also will be located in the facility, which will allow for the expansion of training opportunities.
“The mission of the ECC Foundation is to support the growth and development of East Central College in whatever manner might be beneficial to our students, staff and facilities,” said Shannon Grus, executive director. “This campaign does that.”
“This new Business and Industry Center will create more economic opportunities for our students and our communities,” she said. “It will serve as the regional training provider for business and industry, generating bottom up strategies to spur growth.”
Grus said gifts to the campaign will allow for expansion of programs and offerings in the four technical fields utilizing the latest technology. Evening and weekend opportunities will also be possible with the new space.
“Area manufacturers have a continual need for skilled workers,” Grus stated. “Many more graduates are needed to meet the local and regional demand for workers and the Business and Industry Center will provide that.”
Dr. Jon Bauer, president of the college, stated that this project marks the beginning of an exciting chapter in the history of ECC.
“The purchase and renovation of this building will lead to a state-of-the-art facility that will support some of our high demand career and technical programs,” he said. “When complete it will be the focal point of our work with businesses and industries in the region.”
“As we prepare students for the workforce and help companies become more competitive through training of existing employees, this facility puts East Central College at the leading edge of workforce development in Missouri,” he added.
“We know from employers that a skilled workforce is the most critical need they face,” he said. “Our responsibility is to produce graduates who can meet this demand and contribute to raising the economic trajectory of our region.”
Gifts & Pledges
Donors can make a one-time donation or pledge an amount to be paid over one to five years. Grus said pledges, matching gifts from an employer, planned gifts, gifts in memory or in-kind donations will be accepted. Capital donations of $1,000 or more will be recognized in a permanent location in the building.
“In addition to the naming opportunity for major gifts, the campaign has established additional contribution levels,” said Grus.
The campaign giving levels are major gifts: $25,000 to $100,000; leadership gifts: $15,000 to $24,999; special gifts; $5,000 to $14,999; and general gifts: up to $4,999. All donations are tax deductible. The ECC Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
The project was approved to receive up to $600,000 in tax credits from the Missouri Development Finance Board to assist with fundraising efforts, so the original campaign goal of $600,000 was pushed to $1.2 million.
Grus noted that the tax credits are now available to individuals and corporations that contribute to the campaign. Any taxpayer is entitled to the tax credits. Contributors will receive a 50 percent tax credit for their donation.
The college purchased the 19,807 square foot building in April 2015 for $1.2 million.
This month, college trustees awarded a $3,050,000 contract to K&S Associates, St. Louis, for the renovation work which began March 14. Once completed, the center will total 28,388 square feet. The contractor expects to have the building ready for use in mid-September.
Along with the ECC Foundation’s capital campaign, funds for the renovation will also come from a $1.2 million Economic Development Administration grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce as well as institutional funding.
“For a minimal investment, the college will have a first-class center for technical education for the benefit of students and the greater community,” said Grus.