The University of Virginia’s College at Wise Foundation will receive a $486,994 grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority to develop the Clinch River Ecological Education at the College’s Oxbow Center in St. Paul, Virginia.

The VCEDA Board of Directors approved the funding Thursday in Lebanon, Virginia.

“We are so pleased that VCEDA chose to fund such a worthy project,” said Chancellor Donna P. Henry. “The VCEDA grant will make a tremendous difference in the region’s economy.”

Henry said the College has finished renovations on Phase 1 of the project. The first phase was the innovation and co-working space in the Oxbow Center. The plan is to support entrepreneurial development in the region.

“We also plan to host emerging cybersecurity and technology companies in the Oxbow Center,” Henry added.

Shannon Blevins, associate vice chancellor for economic development and engagement, has worked to develop the Oxbow Center for about two years.

”The Oxbow Center is a unique asset for our economic development efforts,” Blevins said. “We want to bring two target areas together for economic diversification. We want to find synergy between the region’s ecological assets as well as to pursue a technology industry cluster that falls within the VCEDA geography.”

The UVa-Wise received the 19,228 square foot Oxbow Center as a gift in 2016.