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April 18, 2013

EDC prepares to move on USAO campus

BOSTON — The Chickasha Economic Development Council will take up residence at the University of Science and Art in Oklahoma starting in June.

The move will give the EDC access to intensive research materials, which will aid the council's mission in growing Chickasha's economic community, Christy Elkins, president and CEO of the Chickasha EDC said.

"The mission will be the same as it has always been," Elkins said. "We will work to make Chickasha the best it can be and do all the things we have always done."

The new facility will be given to the EDC at no cost, said Elkins. Currently, the EDC rents an office in downtown Chickasha at the Chamber of Commerce for $12,000 a year.

Elkins said rent, utilities, internet access and the ability to utilize worldwide research economic research engines will be available to the EDC free of cost.

Dr. John Feaver, president of USAO said moves like this are a trend he's seen in universities across the country.

"It helps universities comport with their mission to associate themselves with their respective communities and economic development commissioners," he said.

In addition to free access to the aforementioned utilities, Feaver said the move will also allow the EDC to utilize faculty experts on campus.

"We are about to hire a third economist," he said. "Those three will be available to the EDC. We have a sociologist who grew up in North Dakota, so he has a good understanding of sociology surrounding oil. All of these people will be accessible to the EDC."

Student interns will also be available for use, said Feaver.

"That sort of work is not easily done off campus," he said. "There's always an out of sight, out of mind approach."

Feaver said he has heard some animosity in regards to the move, but he doesn't believe the critics fully understand the nature of the change.

"I understand why some would want to keep the EDC in downtown," he said. "I am a major supporter of downtown development and I think this will enhance the communities capacity for such development."

Renovations to USAO's Robertson Hall will feed into this change as well.

Feaver said the intent is to make the building a center for community and economic development.

"We plan to move all of the colleagues associated with economic development into that building as well, so that those skills involved with marketing can be used with USAO and the Chickasha Community," said Feaver.

The move is slated to take place in early June.

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