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Commission approves LU purchase of CAER

February 6, 2017

A press release from the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission on February 1, 2017:

Commission Approves Liberty University Purchase of The Center for Advanced Engineering and Research in Bedford
Richmond, VA – The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission met to discuss a proposal from Liberty University and The Center for Advanced Engineering and Research (CAER) in Bedford County for Liberty to purchase the building for $4.3 million. Liberty plans to locate its school of Engineering and Computational Sciences adjacent to CAER. Construction will begin as soon as possible to expand the site to meet the needs of the school.

The agreement will not see Liberty take over the entire facility but the university will take over the contract for the facility and become an anchor tenant. The Tobacco Commission will remain owners of some grant related property within the facility while Liberty will own the building itself. It is expected that this arrangement will attract new business to the New London Business and Technology Center within which CAER is located.

Tobacco Commission member, Delegate Kathy Byron said, “Liberty University and the CAER have been among the Tobacco Commission’s most reliable partners. The joining of these two forces, focused on advanced engineering and emerging technologies, will promote the vision of the Commission to establish a research industry environment that has tremendous potential to attract new businesses and investment to our area.”

The Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission funded much of the initial construction of the CAER and has continued to support it over the years with funds for updated equipment and new capabilities. The Commission views the purchase of the facility by Liberty University as an opportunity to further the goal of creating a research university environment that will attract businesses and bring jobs to the region as we strive to develop a diverse economy in Southern and Southwest Virginia.

Liberty University Vice President of Special Projects, Jonathan Whitt said, “Liberty University is excited to build upon the initial investment in the CAER by the Tobacco Commission and others to develop a campus focused on advanced energy research. As home to our school of Engineering and Computational Sciences, we will have the opportunity to build much needed bridges between academia and the private sector. We view the energy sector as the new “enernet”, a fast growing sector that promises exciting economic development and job creation.”

Bob Bailey, Executive Director of the CAER added, “The CAER’s vision has always been the development and growth of a strong research university environment in the region. This exciting new collaborative project with Liberty University’s School of Engineering and Bedford County is a significant milestone in achieving this vision”.