CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Officials at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park say renovations planned for one of its buildings will increase energy efficiency and lower its operational costs.
Renovations of the 139,000-square-foot Building 770, which has four floors of laboratory and office space, will begin no later than Feb. 1, said Phil Halstead, executive director of the Tech Park, in South Charleston.
As it is, Building 770's energy costs make it too expensive to rent, said Paul Hill, chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, which oversees the park. The building is vacant.
"The rental fee would have to be so high as to not be competitive," Hill said. "So the decision was made to make it competitive and [comply] with state and federal requirements."
Electricity makes up about one-third of the operating costs of all the buildings at the Tech Park, Hill said.
Building 770 will be the second of three buildings in the park to be renovated. Building 2000 -- where the Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College recently relocated -- is half done.
After Building 770's renovations, Building 740 will be updated. The renovations have been planned since shortly after the Higher Education Policy Commission acquired the 258-acre park through a donation of land and facilities from Dow Chemical. A November 2010 study by analysts Battelle Technology Partnership Practice and CH2M Hill recommended the changes.
Officials are looking for ways to fund the renovations of Building 770.
The policy commission has secured $10.5 million. Of that amount, $5.25 million is coming from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and will be matched with $5.25 million from the state. The renovations will cost about $35 million in all, Halstead said.
"We have not established [where the funding will come from] but we are looking at various mechanisms for funding," Hill said.
He added that the sale of bonds is one possibility.