CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — On Tuesday, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice presented a $2 million check to help remodel a 55,000-square-foot space into a facility for renewable energy, workforce training and a commercial food site.
The Learning, Innovation, Food and Technology (LIFT) Center will be at the current site of the Kanawha Manufacturing building on Charleston’s East End. The facility will house Marshall University’s Green Battery Institute, East Edge Factory, Dickinson Renewables/Edelene Renewables, Parthian Batteries, and the Food Hub.
Charleston Area Alliance, who is leading the project, says the LIFT Center will bring jobs, new skills, business investments and other new opportunities to Southern West Virginia.
“These projects will help to transform the 21 southern counties of West Virginia and give us new opportunities that we don’t have while training a workforce and creating opportunities for future investment,” says Nicole Christian, President & CEO of Charleston Area Alliance.
Christian says the Charleston Area Alliance is grateful for the $2 million from Gov. Justice and an additional $1.25 million check from the City of Charleston. She also says this project would not be possible without their partners, the Coalfield Development Corporation, the West Virginia Department of Economic Development, West Virginia International Yeager Airport, Advantage Valley, and the City of Charleston.
“What we’re seeing is the way that all these groups have come together,” Christian says. “The collaboration is something that we’ve not seen here before, and once we get to see this final product, I think so many people are just going to be thrilled beyond belief, but we certainly won’t be able to make that happen without our partners.”
It will be a few years before Charleston residents see the new facility. Officials say they need time for demolition, possible asbestos removal, safety procedures, and remodeling.