During the recent Kentucky General Assembly, the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce mounted an unprecedented advocacy effort to secure $14 million to construct phase two of the $27 million Advanced Technology Center on the campus of Owensboro Community and Technical College.
Launched at the Chamber’s February 2 Rooster Booster breakfast, the “3-2-1” campaign (third largest city, phase two, number one priority) generated 15,000 emails to Gov. Ernie Fletcher and state legislators, plus numerous letters and phone calls. Personalized letters and campaign buttons were sent to legislators and later to members of the House-Senate Conference Committee. Another 60 local project advocates attended a special western Kentucky reception in Frankfort on February 9.
Ranked as the number one state legislative priority of the Chamber, Economic Development Corporation, city and county government, the tech center will include up-to-date training facilities, business incubator, administrative offices and classrooms for Western Kentucky University – Owensboro and more.
In the 2006 session, tech center funding was included in the House of Representatives budget, omitted in the Senate version, and placed back in the budget during the House-Senate Conference Committee.
On April 24, Gov. Fletcher announced that he cut $370 million from the state budget, including a line-item veto of the Owensboro Advanced Technology Center.
More than 2,000 projects had been proposed in a budget that included $2.38 billion in new debt.
“The right dose (of projects) can give us energy, but too much can cause irreparable harm… We tried to make it balanced…It’s not no. It’s just not yet,” Fletcher said.
|Higher education projects that were funded include:|
|Eastern Kentucky University Science/Education Buildings||$58 million|
|Kentucky State University Hall Renovation||5 million|
|Morehead State University Health/Science Centers||26 million|
|Murray State University Science Complex||15 million|
|Murray State University Residential Hall||13 million|
|Northern Kentucky University Center for Infomatics||35 million|
|Northern Kentucky University Student Union /Parking Garage||33 million|
|University of Kentucky Biological/Pharmaceutical Complex||80 million|
|University of Kentucky Hospital Building||150 million|
|University of Louisville Health Sciences Center||70 million|
|University of Louisville Center for Predictive Medicine||13 million|
|Western Kentucky University Education Building||35 million|
|Western Kentucky University Academic/Athletic Renovation||25 million|
|Community and Technical Colleges|
|Gateway Advanced Manufacturing Tech Center||28 million|
|West Kentucky Emerging Technology Center||16 million|
|Somerset Allied Health/Technical Building||14 million|
|Jefferson County Science/Allied Health Building||26 million|
|Ashland Tech Drive Campus – Phase III||18 million|
|Elizabethtown Regional Postsecondary Education Center||20 million|
|Bluegrass Advanced Manufacturing Center||1 million|
|Maysville Administrative Building||5 million|
|Springfield Community and Technical College*||14 million|
|McCreary Center||6 million|
|Other funded projects include:|
|College of the Cumberland Pharmacy School||11 million|
|Kentucky Horse Park Arena||36 million|
|Louisville Arena||75 million|
*The new Springfield Community and Technical College was not included in either the House or Senate budget. It was added during closed Conference Committee negotiations.