PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) Council of Trustees approved the university to move forward with the acquisition of an additional building in Punxsutawney for the IUP Culinary Arts Master Plan in December, according to a news release from the university.

The approximately 30,000 square-foot building is located at 131 and 133 W. Mahoning St., across from Roseman’s Florist. It is next to three buildings that were given to IUP in 2018 by the Foundation for IUP; the Fairman Center, which is currently in use by the program, and two other buildings at 105, 115, 117, and 119 W. Mahoning St.

“We believe there is great potential for continued growth at the Academy of Culinary Arts,” IUP President Dr. Michael Driscoll said. “Expanding enrollment at the Academy of Culinary Arts, including investing in new and state-of-the-art facilities for current and prospective students in this high-demand program, is part of our strategic direction for the university, and aligns with the principles and intent of the IUP NextGen planning.”

According to the release, the new building is being gifted in part by owners Jesse J. Miller and Duane A. Miller in support of the IUP Academy of Culinary Arts. The remainder of funding for purchase of the building will come primarily from financial gifts designated for the Academy of Culinary Arts, the release said.

“We appreciate the generosity of the Millers,” Driscoll said. “IUP is fully committed to Punxsutawney and to this region, and we continue to appreciate the support that this community demonstrates to us and to our students,” Driscoll said. “We also hope that this project will complement and catalyze further development in downtown Punxsutawney.”

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Fundraising to complete the initiatives in Academy of Culinary Arts Master Plan is part of IUP’s Imagine Unlimited $5 million comprehensive fundraising campaign, which was at 99 percent of the goal, and expected to reach or exceed the goal by the end of 2020.

Since its founding in 1989, more than 4,200 students have studied in Punxsutawney for the culinary program, which continues to meet and exceed the enrollment goals set each year, according to the release.

Though a timeline for the Academy of Culinary Arts Master Plan project has not been finalized, the project is seeing good progress.

The Fairman Centre was gifted to IUP by the Punxsutawney Regional Development Corporation and the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce in November 2006. After a year-long $4.7 million renovation, the building was repurposed with classrooms and teaching kitchens for the Academy of Culinary Arts.

The 16-month program offered at the academy is national recognized and accredited by the American Culinary Federations. After completing a final semester at a paid externship, graduates earn a certificate in culinary arts.

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