The Paducah Area Community Reuse Organization approved a $25,000 grant request from the UK School of Engineering on Wednesday which will help fund development of a makerspace facility at the Paducah location.

Dr. David Silverstein, professor in the engineering department, presented the grant request.

“We believe the project is going to significantly enhance the preparation of our workforce in areas of particular concern to the economic development of the region,” he said.

“What we’re looking to do is create a makerspace which is going to be utilized both within the curriculum and also to help students to get a better understanding of modern manufacturing processes, develop an entrepreneurial and business-oriented mindset and encourage them to create their own business with the ideas they develop.”

The college’s existing laboratory and student project workspace will be refurbished to include state-of-the-art capabilities including laser cutting/etching, 3D printing and circuit board prototyping.

Silverstein told the PACRO board the college has already raised approximately $170,000 of the estimated $250,000 project cost, while noting fundraising has slowed some in the wake of COVID-19.

The $25,000 was previously allocated to the UK School of Engineering when the PACRO board set up its grant program a couple of years ago. The request was approved without dissent, with Silverstein abstaining.

“That’s a great grant,” said Marshall County Judge-Executive Kevin Neal, who serves as PACRO board chair. “I think that’s what this board initially wanted when we partnered with the school, so this is encouraging to see.”

In other business, the board re-elected its members and officers for the coming year during the meeting held via Zoom.

Board members: John Summers, Terry Simmons, Ballard County; Richie Galloway, Andrew Ellison, Graves County; Mayor Billy McDaniel, Sue Barfield, city of Metropolis, Illinois; Neal, and Betsy Flynn, Marshall County; Judge-Executive Craig Clymer, Eddie Jones, George Bray, McCracken County; Kevin O’Neill, West Kentucky Community and Technical College; Jordan Smith, Murray State University; Silverstein, UK College of Engineering; and James Miller, Four Rivers Nuclear Partnership.

Officers elected: Neal, chair; Flynn, assistant chair; Barfield, treasurer; and Allison Harpole, secretary (non-voting member).

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