ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University recently received more than $1.75 million in support of Innovation Plaza, thanks to an $875,048 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and a matching donation from Lindsay and Laura Atwood.
The contributions will support the purchase of equipment for an entrepreneurial makerspace and a biotech, medical and environmental testing lab located in the Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center at Innovation Plaza. The additions will stimulate the southern Utah economy by adding more resources to Innovation Plaza, a hub for support, guidance and education on innovation initiatives, the school said in a news release.
“Innovation Plaza will be another positive step and powerful addition to diversifying jobs in the local Utah economy,” Bryan Thiriot, executive director of Five County Association of Governments, said. “This grant will enable entrepreneurship, innovation and biotechnologies to continue to expand in the region and be a benefit to future job growth.”
The largest grant Dixie State has received through the Economic Development Agency, the investment award was made possible by the early and continued support of U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, as well as regional planning efforts led by the Five County Association of Governments, the news release said. Additionally, the Atwoods’ donation played a pivotal role in Dixie State receiving the EDA grant, as the administration requires institutions to contribute a 50-50 match to the grant.
The high-tech equipment funded by this grant, such as 3D printers and woodworking equipment, will be available for community use, as Innovation Plaza will be open to all area residents. Located in the former East Elementary building across from Trailblazer Stadium, Innovation Plaza will open when building renovations are complete.