By Steve Mocarsky, Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice
WILKES-BARRE — Wilkes University and King’s College have been awarded more than $1.5 million in grants to assist with renovations that will add more classrooms to both schools.
According to state Sen. John Yudichak’s office, Wilkes will receive $1 million to upgrade its pharmacy facilities, enabling the university to deliver “a 21st century educational experience” for their pharmacy program.
Renovations to the Stark Learning Center at 150-180 S. River St. will include new classrooms, new observation rooms, lab renovations and a new pharmacy call center.
King’s College will receive $500,000 for renovations to the former Spring Brook Water Supply Co. at 28-30 N. Franklin St., the senator’s office also announced.
The building will be used to house the school’s Civil and Mechanical Engineering programs. Renovations will include six laboratories, four large multi-use classrooms, student study areas and faculty offices.
“Wilkes University and King’s College have been great partners in the renaissance of downtown Wilkes-Barre, advancing a public-private partnership concept that is strengthening their educational institutions and helping set the stage for job growth in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Yudichak, D-14, Plymouth Twp.
John McAndrew, director of public relations at King’s, said the Spring Brook total project cost is estimated at $7 million.
The project is in the process of going out for bid and officials expect renovations to be complete in spring 2019, McAndrew said.
Gabrielle D’Amico, director of Communications at Wilkes, said many of the specific project details at Stark Learning Center, including time frame and budget, are still under consideration.
Wilkes President Patrick F. Leahy expressed gratitude to Yudichak, Gov. Tom Wolf, state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-121, Wilkes-Barre, and the legislative leadership for their continued support of Wilkes University and the pharmacy program.
“In the 20-year history of the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy, over 1,100 individuals have received their doctor of pharmacy degrees from Wilkes, and the vast majority of these graduates currently work as practicing pharmacists in Pennsylvania. This is an investment in delivering quality health care throughout the Commonwealth,” Leahy said in a prepared statement.
In addition to the grants for the schools, the Waterfront Management Group LLC received $500,000 for a mixed-use complete rehabilitation of a warehouse creating 27 market-rate apartments, a food court, retail space and a business incubator in Pittston City, according to Yudichak’s office.
“The Luzerne County legislative delegation, both Democrat and Republican, continues to work together to fight for public funding that leverages private sector investments in our communities and in regional economic growth,” Yudichak said.
The grants are administered through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) administered by Wolf’s Office of the Budget.
State Sens. Lisa Baker, R-20, Lehman Twp.; John Blake, D-22, Archbald; and John Gordner, R-27, Berwick; and state Reps. Karen Boback, R-117, Harveys Lake; Tarah Toohil, R-116, Butler Twp.; Gerald Mullery, D-119, Newport Twp.; Mike Carroll, D-118, Avoca; Aaron Kaufer, R-120, Kingston; and Pashinski also assisted with securing funding for the projects, Yudichak said.