IUP to Receive $2.9 Million for Academy of Culinary Arts Long-Range Project Through State System Capital Allocations

Posted on 10/26/22 8:45 AM

Another $18 Million Projected in Future Budgets

Indiana University of Pennsylvania will receive $2.9 million for the IUP Academy of Culinary Arts long-range building plan as part of the 2022–23 State System of Higher Education capital allocations budget for the university.

The capital fund allocation budget was approved by the State System of Higher Education Board of Governors at its October 20 meeting.

In addition, the Board of Governors reviewed proposed allocations for future years which include two additional projected allocations for the Academy project. The 2023–24 budget shows a projected $16 million allocation for construction, and the 2025–26 budget shows a projected $2 million for furnishings and equipment. These budgets will be considered for approval by the Board in future years.

The $2.9 million will be used for design of the project; specifically, the new academic facilities to be sited downtown next to the Fairman Centre. Design for this Department of General Services project, estimated at $22 million, is expected to begin immediately.

The new $2.9-million funding adds to the $2 million received in 2021 from the System Capital Spending Plan for demolition of properties gifted to IUP and that are adjacent to the Academy of Culinary Arts Fairman Centre in downtown Punxsutawney. Demolition is tentatively set for the 2023–24 academic year.

With this capital budget allocation, total funding received to date for the project totals $10.01 million, with $18 million projected in the State System Capital Spending Plan over the next three years.

“Approval of this funding continues the positive momentum and confidence in the Academy of Culinary Arts project,” IUP President Michael Driscoll said. “We appreciate the approval of this funding and the continued support for IUP from the Board of Governors.

“Board of Governors Vice Chairman and IUP Council of Trustees Chairman Sam Smith has been a champion for this project, and we continue to thank him for his outstanding leadership for the long-range Academy of Culinary Arts plan, as well as so many other university initiatives that directly benefit our students,” Driscoll said.

The Academy’s long-range plan is focused on providing state-of-the art facilities and providing new opportunities for increased enrollment by locating all the educational facilities for the Academy to new or renovated buildings in downtown Punxsutawney adjacent to the Academy’s Fairman Centre along West Mahoning Street.

The long-range plan, approved in March by the IUP Council of Trustees, also includes a new, 45,000-square foot education and multipurpose commercial site anchored in downtown Punxsutawney, with the facility to serve as the main educational, retail, and experiential hub for students and the surrounding community. The new facility, as proposed in the master plan, would offer between 32,836 and 36,644 square feet of instructional space for Academy students.

Funding for the overall project will come from state and federal funding, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Capital Spending Plan, and private donations. Total cost for the project is estimated to be over $22 million.

With this most recent System Capital Budget allocation, total funding received to date for the project totals $10.01 million. Breakdown of funding for the project is as follows:

  • Government funds of $4.75 million

    • $2.25 million from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) program (the most recent $1 million funding was announced April 25)

    • $4.9 million in funds from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Capital Spending plan ($2 million in demolition funds received in 2021, and the just-allocated $2.9 million in design funds)

    • $500,000 from the Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations Bill, secured by Congressman Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (R-15), announced April 15

  • Gifts in kind (buildings) of $650,000

  • Corporate and Foundation Gifts of $450,000 from the Punxsutawney Area College Trust (PACT), the Fairman Family Foundation, the Hardy Family Trust in honor of 2002 Academy of Culinary Arts graduate Kristin Butterworth; and Symmco

  • Individual gifts of $260,000

Over the years, in total, the Fairman family and the Fairman Family Foundation have provided more than $2 million, and PACT has provided more than $1.2 million, for IUP Punxsutawney and the IUP Academy of Culinary Arts.

IUP received an initial $1 million RACP grant in December 2021 and the second $1 million in RACP funds through the efforts of Representative Brian Smith and Senator Joe Pittman. These funds join RACP funds of $250,000 secured in 2019 by Sen. Joe Scarnati.

The RACP funds will be used specifically for capital costs, including part of the demolition, construction, and renovation of property and buildings where classes will be held, as well as the permits and equipment necessary to move forward with all aspects of the project.

RACP is administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. RACP projects must have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity.

Expanding enrollment at the Academy of Culinary Art is part of the strategic direction for the university, Driscoll said.

The Academy of Culinary Arts project, once completed, is expected to allow for an additional 50 to 70 full-time students annually. Since its founding in 1989, more than 4,200 students have studied in Punxsutawney at the Academy of Culinary Arts, which has continued to meet and exceed its enrollment goals.

“IUP remains fully committed to Punxsutawney and the region, as evidenced by our continued work to secure funding and to raise private funds for the project,” he said.

Academy of Culinary students and graduates are in high demand by four-star resorts and facilities all over the nation, both for externships and for employment following graduation.

“IUP has been very strategic in its work to secure state and federal funds for this important initiative, and we are very grateful to our legislators and community leaders for their support,” Vice President for University Advancement Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna said. “We have had also seen great generosity and excitement about the project from foundations, corporations, businesses, and private individuals, and this work to secure private funding will continue.”

Altogether, IUP will receive $4.5 million from the capital spending plan; $1.6 million will be used for upgrades to the Indiana campus chiller plant.

About the Academy of Culinary Arts Facilities

Students at the Academy of Culinary Arts have classes at the 36-year-old facility on Gilpin Street and at the Fairman Centre (the former J.B. Eberhart building) in downtown Punxsutawney, located at the corner of Mahoning and West Findley streets. Students also use classroom facilities at the IUP Punxsutawney Living-Learning Center on Winslow Street.

The Fairman Centre was gifted to the Foundation for IUP by the Punxsutawney Regional Development Corporation and the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce in November 2006. After a year-long, $4.7-million renovation, the building was repurposed with classrooms and teaching kitchens for the Academy of Culinary Arts and has been in use by the Academy since 2009. The master plan includes recommendations for enhanced use and increased impact of the Fairman Centre, more efficient planned space use within the culinary building (dual use kitchens), and improved delivery vehicle access and vehicular traffic flow.

The first floor of the building is retail space.

The original Fairman Centre gift was made possible through a $1.9-million gift from the Alan and Roy Fairman families, and the building is named in honor of the late Alan Fairman and the late Roy Fairman.

In 2018, the Foundation for IUP gifted buildings at 105, 115, 117, and 119 West Mahoning Street to IUP for the Academy of Culinary Arts building project. Buildings at 131 and 133 West Mahoning Street (the Dorothy Miller property) were acquired and gifted in part by building owners Jesse J. Miller and Duane A. Miller in 2021. All of these buildings are adjacent to the Fairman Centre.

About the Program

The 16-month program offered at the Academy of Culinary Arts is nationally recognized and accredited by the American Culinary Federation. After completing a final semester at a paid externship, graduates earn a certificate in culinary arts and can also complete a separate baking and pastry program through the Academy.

The Baking and Pastry Arts program became a stand-alone program in 2019 to allow for additional growth in this program. Academy of Culinary Arts graduates of either the Culinary Arts program or the Baking and Pastry program are eligible to complete an associate degree in Culinary Arts with an additional semester of study at IUP Punxsutawney. Students who successfully complete the Culinary Arts or the Baking and Pastry program also have the option to apply up to 38 credits toward a bachelor of science degree in hotel, restaurant, tourism, and event management at IUP or 32 credits toward a bachelor of science degree in nutrition. Admission into the nutrition track is guaranteed for culinary graduates. 

Graduates can also apply 21 credits toward a bachelor of science degree in education with a major in K–12 family and consumer sciences. Graduates of the program can choose to take advantage of applying their credits toward any of these bachelor's degree options any time within 10 years after culinary graduation.