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Fund request OK’d

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February 5, 2010

The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted Feb. 4 to approve $500,000 in Local Share Account funding to equip a business conferencing center at Cal U.

The University plans to purchase and install state-of-the-art "smart" technology in the Executive Conference Services Center, a component of the $54 million Convocation Center now under construction.

 "We are grateful to the commissioners, and to the LSA review committee, for bringing this project closer to fruition," said Cal U President Angelo Armenti, Jr. "The conferencing center will be a tremendous asset to the region's business and nonprofit community, allowing business leaders to offer top-quality training and information sessions right here in Washington County."

Total cost of the Executive Conference Services Center component is $2.3 million. Of that amount, the University already has secured $1.55 million for construction. 

The Local Share Account funds will enable Cal U to install intermediate-level "smart" technology in two conference rooms and advanced-level technology in a third. The conference rooms will be outfitted with cutting-edge video and computer hook-ups, webcams, wi-fi access, videoconferencing tools and interactive response equipment.

The conferencing center at Cal U will be the first of its kind in Washington County. Just three comparably outfitted conference rooms are available in western Pennsylvania, all of them in Pittsburgh.

Local business leaders submitted letters expressing support for Ca U's request, which was sponsored by the Washington County Chamber of Commerce. Also submitting letters of support were state Sen. Richard A. Kasunic and state Rep. Peter J. Daley, a member of the University's Council of Trustees.

The commissioners will forward their recommendation to the Department of Community and Economic Development. The state agency is responsible for the distribution of the funds, which are generated by slot-machine gambling at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino.