WVU, State Agencies Finalize Funding Package

$24.4 Million to Expand Research, Create 600 Jobs

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. –A $24.4 million funding package that will allow West Virginia University to complete a 12-year research expansion plan in as little as half that time was finalized Monday in Morgantown.  The facilities will enable the University to add 600 new health sciences research positions over the next 6 to 8 years.

“WVU is developing strong research capabilities in a number of focused areas of health and biosciences, including neurosciences, cancer and heart disease,” said Robert M. D’Alessandri, M.D., WVU vice president for health sciences. “The funds provided by these agencies will allow the University to build infrastructure and speed the recruitment of top researchers.”

Three state development agencies worked together to create the funding package. The Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council will provide $9.4 million, the Economic Development Authority $9 million and the West Virginia Housing Development Fund $6 million. Up to $3 million of the Infrastructure Council's allocation will be forgiven if WVU meets its job creation target.

Former Gov. Bob Wise announced the package in 2004; Gov. Joe Manchin, chair of the Infrastructure Council, re-affirmed the state’s commitment to the project.

At Monday’s event, representatives of all three agencies signed final agreements with WVU and the WVU Research Corporation.         

The funds will build new laboratories at the University's Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center and new neurosciences laboratories. It also will create research space in the new Health Sciences Library.

"With this up-front financing, we can build facilities that will be among the most advanced at any health sciences center or research institute in the country," said Dr. D'Alessandri. "That will attract top researchers, and they will bring an influx of federal and private research funding to WVU."

WVU's health sciences research plan envisions a minimum of 600 -- and possibly more -- new research-related jobs on campus by the end of the decade. Another 500 jobs will be created in the North Central region of the state as a result of indirect effects on the economy - an annual payroll boost to the region of $55 million.

The funds will be repaid to the agencies by WVU over a 15- to 17-year term, and will carry interest rates of 3 to 5.3 percent. Payments will be made from the University's share of research grant funding.

- WVU -

For more information:
Bill Case, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

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