Education

Widener Law, DSU nursing may join $57M Wilmington education hub

Betsy PriceBusiness, Headlines

Education

Bracebridge II, which is numbered 2 on this Tevebaugh Architect graphic, is expected to become a downtown education hub called The Bridge.

Longwood Foundation, Bank of America and area governments plan to invest $57 million in an education hub that will go into one of the former MBNA buildings near Rodney Square.

The hub, to be called The Bridge, is expected to bring the Widener University Delaware Law School, University of Delaware Associates program and Delaware State University nursing to the building now known as Bracebridge II, which lies along Walnut Street, by 2027.

It’s expected to have 2,000 full-time students, faculty and staff by then and have an economic impact of more than $250 million.

The project has several goals.

One is to expand the city’s waning job base.

Another is to bring students and others to downtown Wilmington to study, as well as to move into the rapidly increasing number of downtown apartments and help revitalize the city at a time it’s suffering from businesses reducing office space and leaving the city, and fewer people downtown because many employees work from home at least parttime.

Planners hope the project will provide more opportunities for people of color in Wilmington — through education and hub-associated jobs, and thus help improve their health and lifespan by reducing the cycle of poverty, say says a presentation dubbed “Catalyzing Wilmington’s Revival” presented to city leaders Wednesday morning.

Yet another goal is to use The Bridge, its students, instructors and supporters to “incubate community solutions, creating new products, services, businesses and organizations.”

The Bridge is contingent on city, county and state support for requested funds, and funders on Wednesday asked city leaders to advocate for it.

According to the presentation, the project needs to be funded through many sources: The state of Delaware will contribute $22.7 million, Bank of America $20 million in the project, which may include the donation of the building, Longwood Foundation will put in $10 million, the City of Wilmington $10 million and New Castle County $5 million.

Longwood and Bank of America are committed, but the legislature, city council and county council will need to approve the funds.

Bank of America, which took over MBNA in 2006, owns the building and is expected to donate it as part of its support.

educationcampus corridor

A presentation dubbed ‘Catalyzing Wilmington’s Revival’ included this graphic showing the ‘campus corridor’ that would be created with the founding of The Bridge education hub.

Education corridor

The Bridge will sit near the Community Education Building at 12th and French Streets, which houses four schools and was founded with Longwood Foundation money and guidance after Bank of America donated the building in 2012, and Longwood’s planned Youth Development Center at 1223 Clifford Brown Walk, which was announced last year.

If Incyte Corp. follows through with plans revealed Tuesday to expand into a downtown building, the one-two punch could be the largest boon in decades for the future of Delaware’s largest city.

RELATED STORY: Incyte is in line to get a $14.8 million grant from the state to expand into Wilmington

The Bridge is expected to be part of a “Campus Corridor” extending from Rodney Square to the Riverfront Center and including Del Tech, DCAD and Delaware State University’s riverfront building.

That corridor includes 80% of the available office space in downtown Wilmington and creates the potential of connections with the Reach Riverside WRK Group, presentation materials said.

According to the presentation, the project needs to be funded through many sources: The state of Delaware will contribute $22.7 million, Bank of America $20 million in the project, which may include the donation of the building, Longwood Foundation will put in $10 million, the City of Wilmington $10 million and New Castle County $5 million.

educationThe Bridge Youth Development Center

The Youth Development Center will be part of the education hub being created in downtown Wilmington.

The Youth Development Center already underway is meant to give Wilmington youth a safe and enriching place to learn and grow outside of the standard school days. Its programming will include anti-violence programming in an effort to combat gun and gang violence.

One trend that the establishment of The Bridge fits into is changes in college education trends.

For decades, education officials have been told that traditional residential universities should expect to lose students because many young people preferred or needed to come to city schools to earn a college education.

 

 

 

 

 

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