Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology plans to seek an estimated $2 million to $2.5 million million federal grant as part of a project to re-locate Rose-Hulman Ventures.

The grant application would go to the Economic Development Administration, a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Rose already has a $1.5 million READI grant toward the project.

Ventures is Rose-Hulman’s engineering consulting and business development arm; it’s currently located south of East Moyer Drive and east of Indiana 46/641, about six miles from campus.

The new, 25,000 square-foot facility, to be located at Indiana 42 and 46 on vacant property already owned by Rose-Hulman, would enable Ventures to expand programs and services.

The new Ventures building would serve as an anchor for developing a research and development park planned to encompass 20.6 acres, eventually, according to a project description prepared as part of a federal environmental assessment.

Construction of the new facility “will be the first step in creating a research and development park,” called Innovation Grove, designed to stimulate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) business activity, said a description on file with Thrive West Central.

It’s anticipated the final grant proposal will be submitted to EDA in December.

The new, single-story Ventures building would house space dedicated to mechanics, software development and research labs. It will help Ventures better assist startups, entrepreneurs and businesses with software and new product development.

It also will expand the modern labs, computer aided design and 3D printing resources.

“Businesses will have better access to bring their operations to a newly-expanded facility with enhanced labs and STEM capabilities that will enable them to grow and contribute to the region’s economic development,” according to the current project description.

It further states, “The project will provide local and regional businesses assistance in prototyping, software development and engineering. The services provided will assist companies with resiliency, sustainability, competitiveness and growth.”

Information prepared for the environmental review states the property proposed “is ideal” for developing an R& D facility because of its proximity to the Rose-Hulman campus, accessibility to Indiana 42 and 46, minimal environmental disturbance and the fact that Rose-Hulman already owns the site.

Rose-Hulman had no immediate comment on the grant application because it has not yet been finalized and submitted to EDA.

“There are steps in the process that are still unsettled,” said Dale Long, Rose-Hulman director of media relations.

“We will be happy to discuss details once they have been finalized. … It’s still a work in progress.”

The $1.5 million REA DI grant represented the first stage of funding for the project, Rob Coons, Rose-Hulman president, said this summer.

“Our hope is that it creates an opportunity to grow it slightly.”

Rose-Hulman is pleased with the experience students have at Ventures, he said at that time. This summer, 53 interns were working there full-time.

“But during the academic year, it’s a little more challenging for them to get out to Ventures because the curriculum and our schedule is so intense,” Coons had said. By bringing it closer and to campus, “Students will have easier access and perhaps other faculty will have additional access as well.”

The college is working on other funding sources for the project, which Coons stated was in the $8 million to $10 million range and under design. In addition to the federal EDA funding, “We do have a few donors especially interested in this concept,” he said.

The college hopes to create space along Indiana 42 for an “innovation area where we can do a number of things from an entrepreneurial perspective,” Coons said. “We have more and more of our students interested in entrepreneurship, and we think using Ventures as the anchor for that kind of activity presents some nice opportunities for us.”

The goal is to break ground sometime before or during the college’s 150th anniversary celebration in 2024.

RJL Solutions and Thrive West Central are collaborating with Rose-Hulman on the current funding proposal.

© 2023 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.