Warren, Pennsylvania – Today, in the entryway of the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College (NPRC), located on the fifth floor of the newly remodeled National Bank Building on 2nd Avenue in downtown Warren, Jim Decker, President and CEO of the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry, presented Commissioners Ben Kafferlin and Jeff Eggleston with a check for $450,000, thereby fulfilling an agreement made almost a year ago which helped jumpstart the redevelopment of the former bank building.

“Housing the NPRC and creating the coworking space through the facilitation of the loan is one of the greatest joys and opportunities of the last three years,” said Commissioner Kafferlin reflecting on the job done by the WCCBI, “My thanks goes out to Jim Decker and the WCCBI for the perseverance and expert project management of the project.”  

The WCCBI and the County had a very short window to acquire, renovate, and furnish the former Warren National Bank Building at 300 Second Avenue to provide a final headquarters for the NPRC. Starting in February 2018 the group would have until December 2018 to purchase the building and generate all the necessary accommodation for the NPRC to function. This was a huge task.

Commissioner Eggleston expressed his reservations about the project saying, “I would never have said this at the time, but I was concerned about whether we’d pull it off or not. I thought it would get done, but not on time and not on budget. This is just a testament to the amazing job Jim Decker and the WCCBI have done.”

The full cost of the renovations was roughly $1.9 million dollars, which at the time seemed impossible. Fortunately, several local foundations and the County Commissioners stepped up and generated the necessary funds, matched with state dollars, to fully fund the renovation project.

Jim Decker praised the Commissioners for their decision to support the project saying, “The willingness of the Commissioners to provide this funding enabled the redevelopment of the fifth floor of the property to serve as home for the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College in the timeframe required to support their development and growth.”

The county provided a $100,000 grant which was matched with $500,000 from the Dart Foundation and $200,000 from the Community Foundation to produce the $800,000 matching fund which would draw down a $650,000 RACP Grant from the state of Pennsylvania to fund the renovations. For the purchase of the building, the Commissioners provided a $450,000 no interest loan to the WCDA (the development arm of the WCCBI) which was to be repaid in February of 2019.

“In this case,” stated Eggleston, “the local government was able to provide stability in a project that might not have happened otherwise. Mr. Decker and everyone involved were able to focus on the renovations and other operational efforts, rather than getting bogged down in financial planning for the project. That’s the only reason it was done in a year and done well I might add.”

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the space,” said Dr. Joseph Nairn, President of the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College. “The support from this community has been great and that’s why we’re standing here today.”

Commissioner Kafferlin said, “I thank the community for their support and am always thrilled to hear hoteliers, restaurateurs and other local businesses tell me what an impact the NPRC has had on them already, and we’re only months into Warren being their home. This is a legacy project and I’m thrilled to have had a part in it.”

Jim Decker hoisted more praise on the Commissioners saying, “The 300 Second Avenue Redevelopment project is a shining example of what is possible through cooperation and collaboration.  The support of the Commissioners Kafferlin and Eggleston for this project has enabled Warren County to serve as the epicenter of the NPRC and home to a substantial number of their administrative staff and has allowed the redevelopment of a historic, landmark building in the center of the City of Warren to be undertaken, thus ensuring its’ continued contributions to our local economy.” 

“This represents the first major, post-secondary educational investment by the state in Warren County in over forty years,” said Commissioner Eggleston in conclusion. “It’s game changing, and I will be forever grateful to my fellow Commissioners and especially Jim Decker for making this happen. Today is a good day indeed.”

Any questions for the Commissioners Office regarding this news story may be directed to Pam Matve, Chief Clerk, by phone at 814-728-3402 or by email at [email protected].