The University of Pikeville has announced a $40 million Community Facilities direct loan from USDA Rural Development will be used to construct a building that will house the university’s College of Optometry.
The loan will make up the bulk of the $52 million price tag of the new building, along with grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Economic Development Administration, $5.5 million from UPike, and more than $3 million in private donations.
A statement from USDA said the new college was selected by the Accreditation Council of the American Optometric Association, and will be the first optometry school in Kentucky.
Plans are that construction on the 90,000-squarefoot facility will begin within a month, and is set to be completed in time to open to students in the summer of 2016.
Doug O’Brien, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development at USDA, O’Brien said the strides being made by the university are helping the shape the future of Central Appalachia.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “What’s happening here is going to change the face of the region.”