A feasibility study for the College of St. Joseph is now complete. The study identifies an opportunity for a reimagined College and campus to move forward. The recommendation of the study is to form a public-private partnership to invest in and renovate a campus and establish programs to support businesses and entrepreneurs while leveraging the federally recognized Opportunity Zone in which the campus is located.
RUTLAND, Vt., Oct. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The College of St. Joseph, Vermont Works, Vermont Innovation Commons and its partners have concluded a feasibility study for the College of St. Joseph, and have identified an opportunity for a reimagined College and campus to move forward. The recommendation of the study is to form a public-private partnership to invest in and renovate a campus and establish programs to support businesses and entrepreneurs while leveraging the federally recognized Opportunity Zone in which the campus is located. As envisioned, the CSJ Center for Excellence and Innovation would be consistent with best-practice initiatives nationwide that have driven entrepreneurship and economic development, and that have attracted inward community investment.
The CSJ Center for Excellence and Innovation would provide non-degree education and workforce development, accelerator programs for entrepreneurs and startups, co-working space, office space for startups and others, co-living space, and serve as home to third party programs and business tenants. The newly formed organization will attract investment to support the facility and to startup companies nurtured there.
"Several community members told us they think this initiative could be transformational for Rutland," explained Dennis Moynihan, Program Director at Vermont Innovation Commons and lead co-author of the feasibility study. "I agree. Rutland has all the pieces to make this a success—engaged community leaders, young professionals eager for 'buzzy' spaces and events, and solid plans for leveraging the federal 'Opportunity Zones' program. More broadly, supporting entrepreneurship and lifelong learning are really key to Vermont's 21st-century future."
The study was conducted over 120-days, from June through September, to assess the feasibility of creating an "innovation center" together with a reimagined College of St. Joseph. The study was conducted collaboratively between Vermont Works Management Company, Vermont Innovation Commons, and the College of St. Joseph with support from Heritage Family Credit Union, Northern Border Regional Commission, Rutland Redevelopment Authority, City of Rutland, Rutland Economic Development Corporation, and Rutland business owner Mark Foley, Jr.
"The CSJ Board of Trustees supports our vision for the future and was impressed with the breadth and depth of the analyses in our feasibility study. They have the knowledge and insight to know that this bold initiative has the potential to be an economic driver for the Rutland community and beyond for years to come," said Dr. Jennifer Scott, President of the College of St. Joseph. Scott added, "Given their honest concern over the institution's recent depleted financial resources, they welcome this projected path towards future fiscal health."
The CSJ Board met on Friday and approved an operational hiatus while the details of next-stage funding are being worked out. Scott said, "This is a period of transition for all those involved, but we could not be more pleased with the progress we're making. Our road may have some serious twists and turns, but we're fully committed to seeing this through." Scott will retain her position as a member of the Board of Trustees.
You can view the full study, here.
About Vermont Innovation Commons
The Vermont Innovation Commons is a launching pad for entrepreneurs and innovators, a nurturing partner for startup and growth firms with the ultimate goal of creating living-wage jobs and retaining youth and innovation in the state. With a statewide focus, Vermont Innovation Commons spearheads projects that capture the benefits of the sharing economy, the state's entrepreneurial DNA, and Vermonters' signature work hard, play hard lifestyle. Working in tandem with the business community here and beyond Vermont's borders to create a future that maintains Vermont's cultural roots while building a thriving future full of opportunities for everyone. For more information, visit vtinnovationcommons.com.