Expansion project planned at Utica Shale Academy

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The Utica Shale Academy is looking to expand and has applied for $2.4 million to construct a new building in Salineville.
Superintendent Bill Watson said an application was made to the Governor’s Office on Appalachia and would match current funds to help erect a $4.8 million, two-story facility on grounds that USA owns along East Main St. The site, which is located adjacent to the Hutson Building, would feature 5,090 square feet of space for offices, several classrooms, machinery, lockers and restrooms for those working with heavy equipment operation, plus students can also learn CNC plasma cutting. A building has been razed with work on the separate 2,800-square-feet outdoor welding lab currently ongoing, and Watson said officials hope to learn later this year if the construction project will become a reality.
“We submitted for a $4.8 million project, but we had nearly 50-percent leverage with two $600,000 equity grants and some ESSER (Emergency Elementary and Secondary School Relief) funding and asked for $2.4 million to build a facility next to the welding lab,” Watson said. “It will be for heavy equipment operation and will also be used for recovery to work. I’ve reached out to [jails and public health commissions in] Jefferson, Columbiana and Mahoning counties to work with recovering addicts and get them back into the workforce.”
The expansion comes on the heels of the acquisition of the former Huntington Bank building at 50 E. Main St., which is being used as the Energy Center in collaboration with Youngstown State University. That building was acquired in partnership with YSU using funds from a $300,000 capital budget bill allocation which was acquired by Ohio Sen. Michael Rulli and Rep. Tim Ginter (both R-Salem), and the facility houses megatronics, hydraulics, pneumatics, AC/DC electric, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC’s), diesel mechanics and horticulture. Watson said the original Hutson Building just a few doors away at 70 E. Main St. incorporates general classrooms and Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) programming through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center while the new sites will focus on career-tech education.

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