The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

September 21, 2007

Paving the Way

UT-Tyler-Palestine Development Council kicks off campaign for campus expansion fundraiser

PALESTINE — Members of the University of Texas at Tyler-Palestine Campus Development Council, along with UT Tyler officials announced this week the kick-off of the campaign to construct a bigger and better Palestine campus.

Along with that announcement came the acknowledgment today of a lead gift in the “Paving the Way” campaign — a $500,000 contribution from the Palestine Industrial Foundation.

“The Industrial Foundation was started in 1954 by a group of individuals and families who desired to improve economic development in Palestine,” Development Council Chairman David Barnard said in a Wednesday interview. “This group of people see education as a cornerstone of the community — as being vital to the future of Palestine.”

UT Tyler board members recently named an architect for the project, Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects of Austin, who estimate the cost of the new campus at about $9.6 million.

Most of those funds have already been received, thanks to the efforts of local lawmakers Byron Cook and Todd Staples who helped the University obtain $6.3 million in tuition revenue bonds. UT Tyler later contributed an additional $700,000 to the project.

“But that is not enough,” Barnard said. “We still need about $2.6 million in funding to finish out the building and for things like parking lots, landscaping and funding for before we can begin construction.”

The development council began looking for ways to raise those additional funds and decided to host a fund-raising campaign to meets those needs and complete the project.

“Members of the development council were asked to make advanced commitments toward that goal,” Barnard said. “Advanced commitments, including that from the Palestine Industrial Foundation, total $1,568,650.

“We are ready to announce Friday (today) and have just over half of the needed funds raised,” Barnard said Wednesday. “That is very exciting.”

According to Barnard, the Palestine Economic Development Corp played a vital role in seeing the UT Tyler-Palestine expansion come about.

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