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Dedication of Delta Center for Economic Development facility set for Oct. 15

October 14, 2009 -- The Delta Center for Economic Development (DCED) facility, the new home for the outreach activities of Arkansas State University’s College of Business, will be dedicated at a ceremony Thursday, Oct. 15, at 10 a.m. The ceremony will be at the new facility at 319 University Loop West on the ASU campus. Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe will join Pedro Garza, the regional director of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), for the dedication.

The new facility will aid the College of Business, the Delta Center for Economic Development (DCED), and the Small Business and Technology Development Center in their quest to provide programs for economic development along with training and assistance to further the success of small businesses in the region. 

“We are excited about the opening of the new Delta Center for Economic Development Building,” said Dr. Len Frey, dean of the College of Business. “Bringing the activities of the Delta Center together with the other outreach activities of the College of business will allow a unique synergy to be created by combining the expertise of College of Business faculty and students with that our economic development specialists.

“The partnering of these groups will form the catalyst for entrepreneurial activities that will permeate the entire campus and facilitate future economic development for the entire region.”

The 22,000-square foot structure includes a 90-seat auditorium-style space, seminar rooms, classrooms, and training rooms. One of the key features is a 45-seat tiered conference room which was designed to match the look and feel of a corporate environment. These features can be used for training sessions as well as development meetings. Arkansas State University offers training capabilities to businesses in Jonesboro and the surrounding region through scheduled seminars and workshops designed to support economic development.

“The new Delta Center facility brings together critical services for economic development,” added Mark Young, president and CEO of the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce. “This enhances economic development opportunities throughout the entire region.”

“Until now, our College of Business outreach components have been located across town,” said Alan McVey, executive director of the DCED. “With this generous support, they have been brought together under one roof in a new facility with leading edge technology to better serve our clients. We are fortunate to have outstanding faculty and staff who are committed not only to teaching but also understanding and assisting business and industry. This new facility will greatly enhance our ability to respond to the needs of businesses and communities across the state.”

Previously, the Delta Center and its training program center was located off-campus in southeast Jonesboro. ASU officials learned in 2007 that the U.S. Department of Commerce had awarded grant funding for the construction of a new structure.

“ASU’s academic community is excited that a state-of-the-art facility has been constructed in the central core of the campus for academic purposes with a primary interest in economic development,” said Dr. Dan Howard, executive vice chancellor and provost at ASU. “This facility will create an excellent environment that will help address important academic and research needs and interests of ASU faculty, students, and the business community. The university is deeply appreciative of the investment made by others in this facility and is committed to using it wisely.”

Construction of the new facility was made possible through grants totaling $3.3 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). Additional funding for the facility is provided by ASU with college bond funds, bringing the total project amount to $6.6 million.

“We appreciate the efforts of Congressman Marion Berry and Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and their staffs in obtaining this important grant for our campus,” said ASU Chancellor Robert L. Potts. “The completion of this center, which the grant made possible, heralds a new era in economic development efforts on our campus. Increasingly, we are cognizant of the close relationship between higher education and economic development. This grant recognizes that fact, and is much appreciated.”

“The college of Business and Delta Center for Economic Development are indebted to Senators Lincoln, Pryor and Congressman Berry for their assistance in securing the funding for this project,” added Dr. Frey. “We are also indebted to Mr. Pedro Garza for his enthusiastic support of this effort.”

Garza, who was a special guest at the groundbreaking in May, 2008, oversees infrastructure development, capacity building, and economic adjustment in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The EDA has provided support for rural communities throughout Arkansas through the DCED, including the current ‘Powering Rural Development’ initiative to promote strategic planning throughout the region.

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