$1m grant to fund McInnis addition

After four years of hard work, Eastern received a grant of $1 million from Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania.

Each year the governor asks for a set amount of funds, called Redevelopment Assistance Capital Projects, that he allots to different public works projects.

Senior vice president Tom Ridington, with the help of United States Senator Connie Williams, was involved in advocating for the grant and, ultimately, in persuading the governor.

“We owe a great deal of thanks to Senator Williams,” Ridington said.

Williams became their advocate and brought the request for the grant directly to the governor.

Ridington and his colleagues also attempted to contact Hilary Clinton to ask her to send a letter of support, but were unable to get in touch with her.

RACP funds are rarely, if ever, used for university projects, and are even more infrequently granted to private institutions, according to Ridington.

“We were told it was a very long shot,” he said.

However, with the help of Senator Williams, they were granted the funds, which they must now match with private funds.

“We originally asked for the money for the library building,” Ridington said.

However, when the request was approved, HHC was already under construction, according to Ridington.

The funds will now be used to build a “tech tower” addition to McInnis, which will house all of the technology departments and computer labs.

Diana Bacci, vice president of technology, has been involved slightly in the project, and has been answering questions about it.

“Our dream is to build a facility that will house the ‘nerve center’ of our computing and network equipment. We recognize that the Internet, e-mail, local and wireless networks are the fundamental technologies supporting the ways we teach, learn, communicate and do research,” she said in an email.

In addition, the tower will bring all the tech people to one place on campus, Ridington said.

The construction of the technology tower will commence in 2007 after the new dorm and GPS are completed.

“I wish we could build it tomorrow,” Ridington said. “But building in Radnor Township requires a lot of patience.”

Instead, 2006 will be spent planning the project.

Ridington is excited about the project and other changes that Eastern is making.

“It’ll be a great stretch of five or six years for this campus,” he said. “There’s always going to be something new to improve the college experience.”

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