$3M in state funds boosts new manufacturing facility at Northark

$3M in state funds boosts new manufacturing facility at Northark

Thu Jun 24, 2021 at 01:16 PM

Northark Center for Robotics and Manufacturing artist rendering

The high-tech manufacturing and robotics training facility envisioned by North Arkansas College (Northark) and local business leaders over the last two years has had its ups and downs.  Last week the vision became a reality with the announcement of a $3M commitment from the state to fund construction of a Center for Robotics and Manufacturing Innovation (CRMI). The state funds serve as the catalyst for other pieces of the funding mix needed complete the $8M project to fall in place.  The rest of the anticipated funds include a potential $2-3M Economic Development Administration Grant in partnership with Northwest Economic Development District (NWEDD) combined with $700K from Boone County Economic Development Committee (BCEDC) added to $773K in private and local grants and $1.57M from Northark.

Interim President Don Sugg has been spearheading this project after past President Randy Esters resigned in May to return to Louisiana.  “The CRMI facility is crucial for the training and development of lucrative highly-skilled professional careers for our area citizens and to meet the ever-changing technological requirements of a trained workforce for our area manufacturers.  There is still work to do but last week we took a major step towards the goal and we all have reason to celebrate the success and advancement of Northark and the people it serves or will serve in the future.”

The team initially involved were Dr. Randy Esters (now Don Sugg), Scott Miller, Craig Campbell and Joe Willis and Harrison Chamber CEO Bob Largent.  They joined forces with legislators Senator Scott Flippo, Representative Jack Fortner, Senator Breanne Davis, Representative Ron McNair, Representative Keith Slape and Mike Preston, Arkansas Secretary of Commerce and Governor Asa Hutchinson.

The 32,500 square foot Center will house the manufacturing, machining, robotics, electronic and IT programs.  All of the programs except for IT are currently located on the college’s north campus. Relocation of these programs to the CRMI building will mark the first step in the college’s master plan to move the north campus to the south campus.

North Arkansas College is committed to providing an educational and work environment for its students, faculty, and staff that is free from sexual discrimination including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence. No form of sexual discrimination will be tolerated. See the full North Arkansas College Title IX Policy and Procedures for the specific definitions of sexual harassment and sexual violence, including examples of such conduct.