The Bastrop City Council on Sept. 22 approved an agreement between the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation and the local Deep in the Heart Art Foundry to produce career training opportunities and a technology center in Bastrop.
The partnership involves the expansion of two Bastrop businesses to three different locations and more than $2 million in capital improvements.
The Texas Workforce Solutions and Austin Community College are also included in the partnership.
The agreement calls for the construction and design of a classroom and workshop space at 402 Technology Drive in the Bastrop Business and Industrial Park, which will be used by ACC to offer morning and evening HVAC and welding training and certifications.
Registration for the classes opens in October. ACC plans to begin the first phase of mobile training classes in the Bastrop Business and Industrial Park by November.
BEDC CEO Cameron Cox said the economic development corporation will put up $355,000 to construct and design the classroom and workshop space on Technology Drive and to purchase and maintain equipment for it.
The space will be 1,000 square feet and is designed for use by institutes of higher learning like ACC and The Art Institute of Austin, which is relocating to Bastrop and will begin offering classes Downtown in January.
Deep in the Heart Art Foundry’s involvement in the partnership coincides with a period of growth for the metal casting business, located on Jackson Street in the Bastrop Business and Industrial Park.
The foundry will increase its production from the 402 Technology Drive location and, according to the partnership, expand to a new location Downtown where it will have an art gallery, retail store and restaurant at the corner of Water and Chestnut streets. The Art Institute will also be able to offer courses at the gallery.
The foundry is purchasing a 7,000-square-foot building currently owned by Water Street Millworks for its Downtown expansion.
Cox said the BEDC will fund renovation costs for the foundry’s new space, including electrical, plumbing, HVAC and structural elements, up to $175,000, as well as moving costs.
Water Street Millworks will move its cabinet making business to 292 Industrial Blvd. The BEDC will also provide up to $70,000 in grant funds to Water Street Millworks to help with costs of construction, expansion and relocation.
Investing in workforce training
The BEDC has entered into a contract with Howard Designs, the company created by Deep in the Heart Art Foundry owner and CEO Clint Howard, for the career training and workforce development project.
In the contract, the BEDC states it will make up to $600,000 available to Howard Designs to conduct a minimum of $2.05 million in capital expenditures and improvements defined as infrastructure, utilities, drainage, telecommunications and other capital improvements geared toward workforce training and development.
Specifically, Howard Designs must invest a minimum of $1.15 million within one year at the 402 Technology Drive location and a minimum of $900,000 within one year at the Downtown location.
At the 292 Industrial Blvd. location, Howard Designs will provide the BEDC with all expenses to be reimbursed from constructing, improving and retrofitting the new workshop for Water Street Millworks.