Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology is kicking off its campaign to buy the former National Guard Armory from the City of Lancaster with news that it has a $1 million matching pledge from the owners of Greiner Industries Inc.
According to the college, the Armory facility carries a price tag of $3 million, and Thaddeus Stevens currently has a $1 million commitment from the state. The pledge from Sharon and Frank Greiner Jr. is intended to help the college raise the remaining $1 million.
"The initial phase of the campaign goal is to raise the funds necessary to purchase the former National Guard Armory so renovations can be made to the existing building," says the college website. "This building will become a technical training center for our Machine Tool and Computer-Aided Manufacturing and Metals Fabrication & Welding Technology programs. Upon completion each facility will be equipped with innovative equipment for hands-on training, which will allow many more students to be accepted into these programs, thus providing employers with a larger pool of highly skilled candidates to meet their needs."
After the immediate need for expansion of those programs is realized, the college says, "it is anticipated that the property will become home to a community learning center, as well as future laboratories."
Stevens spokesman Chad Baker said the college plans to use about $5 million from its capital fund from the state for renovations, construction of a fourth building in addition to the three currently on the Armory site, and equipment. He noted that the total cost of the purchase and renovations is projected to be about half of what it would have cost the college to the build a facility to expand the programs on its existing campus.
The college is aiming to complete the project in time for the fall 2015 semester. It currently accepts 25 new students into each of the mentioned programs each year, Baker said, and the expansion should easily allow it to double that.
The college, which offers associate degrees and certificates in technical education programs, is owned by the state. Its campus at the east end of Lancaster is just a few blocks from the armory. The college says the campaign is an "enormous but doable" challenge and the need to expand those programs is "tremendous," as skilled graduates "are desperately needed by employers."
Greiner Industries Inc., founded in 1976, is based in Mount Joy Township and does steel fabrication, CNC machining, rolling and forming, blasting and coatings, mechanical and electrical contracting and crane service. According to Business Journal records, it has more than 250 local employees and had 2012 revenue of nearly $39 million.
Editor's Note: This item has been modified from its previous version to include comments from Stevens spokesman Chad Baker.