TOPEKA, Kan (WIBW)--- In a 7-0 vote the Joint Economic Development Organization approved purchasing a former Army Reserve property located on the 2000 block of SE Washington to make way for an East Topeka Learning Center.
"What this does is it allows an economic development, and an opportunity with workforce development to train a skilled workforce for the community,” said Vice President of Workforce and Education for Go Topeka, Barbara Stapleton.
The learning center will be a joint effort between Washburn University, Washburn Tech and JEDO. It will provide programs such as commercial truck driving, GED services, financial literacy, tutoring, and more.
"We are committed to the project,” said Washburn University President, Dr. Jerry Farley. “We will define education opportunities, needs, and define the curriculum.”
"I cannot express my gratitude and my support for this project,” said Senator Anthony Hensley. “I think it's desperately needed."
The board also approved Go Topeka's $4.5 million remodeling and partial demolition budget for the six-acre property.
Go Topeka hopes to raise $500,000 to offset construction and other costs for a project they say will bring the community together.
"When you look at diversity and inclusion not only do you want to have a diverse or inclusive organization, but you want to have an inclusive and diverse community,” said Stapleton. “It does send a message to all of the community that everyone is important and everyone matters."
The goal Is to open by fall 2018 with room for 400 students. For more information you can go to JEDO’S website.