JEFFERSON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and its Academy of Culinary Arts secured another $1 million grant to replace its 31-year-old learning facility.
Rep. Brian Smith (R-Jefferson/Indiana) and Sen. Joe Pittman (R-41) made the announcement today that a second state grant from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) for the major construction project.
The funding will help complete a new, 45,000-square-foot education and multipurpose commercial site anchored in downtown Punxsutawney, according to a press release from Smith’s office. The state-of-the-art facility will serve as the main educational, retail and experimental hub for students and the surrounding community.
“The new technology-focused culinary kitchens and laboratories will provide critical spaces for optimal learning of students,” Pittman said. “Exceptional lab spaces and classrooms will meet workforce needs for highly skilled culinary arts chefs and bakers. This brings the total funding commitment for this project to $2.75 million.”
Pittman said he commends Smith and Congressman “GT” Thompson for their partnership in bringing the funds to the project as a united legislative team.
“It will be transformative to IUP and the borough of Punxsutawney,” he said.
Smith and Pittman previously worked with IUP officials to secure an initial $1 million RACP grant in December. It’s reported the RACP funds will be specifically used for capital costs, including part of the demolition, constriction, renovation of property and buildings where classes will be held, as well as the permits and equipment necessary to move forward with all aspects of the project.
Over 4,200 IUP students have studied in Punxsutawney at the Academy of Culinary Arts since its founding in 1989. The 16-month program is nationally recognized and accredited by the American Culinary Federation and includes a paid externship placement for students, many at four-star restaurants and resorts throughout the nation.
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For more information on IUP Punsytawney and its culinary program, visit iup.edu/punxsutawney.