West Virginia University officials issued the following statements today (Aug. 20) following decisions made by the state Economic Development Grant Committee.

The committee voted to fully-fund a $2 million request for a new state Fire Service Training Academy at WVU Jacksons Mill.

The grant for the new state Fire Training Academy will be used to complete site preparation work,said Dr. Larry Cote, WVU s associate provost for Extension and public service.Once completed in 3-4 years, this state-of-the-art training facility will draw in volunteer and municipal firefighters, industrial emergency brigades, EMS and other rescue personnel from not only West Virginia, but the entire east coast. Extension has been the home of the West Virginia fire training program since 1937. Todays grant announcement goes a long way to ensuring our emergency responders will soon have the best when it comes to training.

The committee rejected a $10 million request from the WVU Research Parkinstead directing the funds to the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute at WVU . The Institute will mean research jobs for West Virginia and hope for millions of Alzheimers patients. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2004.

We are appreciative of the consideration we received from the committee for the WVU Research Park, but obviously disappointed that the funding was not approved,said John Weete, vice president for research and economic development at WVU and president of the WVU Research Corp.I am pleased, however, that the committee invested in two other WVU projects (Fire Academy and Neurosciences Institute) that will fuel economic activity in our state. And, while the decision to reject park funding will slow progress on Phase 1the excavation and infrastructure work WVU and its Research Corporation remain committed to expanding the role the university plays in supporting economic development as well as nurturing and growing our education and research missions.

Ultimately, Weete said, the Park complex is expected to generate some 2,600 jobs in a dozen buildings that will provide wet research labs for hard science as well as office and business operations space.