PA Wilds Center to begin construction on ‘PA Wilds Media Lab’, a business accelerator 

Media Lab tour

(Above: Ta Enos, center left, talks to tour participants about plans for the Media Lab.)

PA Wilds Center to begin construction on ‘PA Wilds Media Lab’, a business accelerator 

Update provided during annual Conservation Landscape meeting

KANE, PA —  Construction work for the PA Wilds Media Lab, a small business accelerator space, is set to begin this December in McKean County. Ta Enos, CEO & Founder of the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc. (PA Wilds Center), gave this update during a tour of the planned site of the Media Lab on November 22. 

The tour was provided to over 30 people from across Pennsylvania, including leaders from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Conservation Landscape program and key partners, as well as local officials from Kane. 

Media Lab construction

Roof work has been completed. Photo by Tracy Smith.

“So far, the windows and roof have been replaced, and initial interior layout designs have been drawn up,” said Enos. “Construction of the PA Wilds Media Lab is slated to kick off in December. The PA Wilds Center’s goal is to open the facility by the end of Fall 2020.”

The PA Wilds Center released a Request for Proposals seeking a construction firm in April 2019.  J.A. Luciano & Sons Builders of Bradford was selected for the project.

“The Media Lab will be one of the first brick-and-mortar facilities operated by the PA Wilds Center, and it will house a variety of tools designed to help small businesses within the Pennsylvania Wilds grow,” said Abbi Peters, EVP of Creative Commerce at the PA Wilds Center. “For example, the site will include spaces for audio-visual tools, a photography booth, workshops and more. Businesses within the Wilds Cooperative of PA, a network of entrepreneurs in the Pennsylvania Wilds, will be able to utilize these resources and learn from each other in this space.”

Media Lab construction

The windows were replaced. Photos by Tracy Smith.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a key investor in the Media Lab. Another major partner is West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund (WPPSEF), which has financially supported its construction. Their investment will allow the Media Lab space, located on the second floor of the Broadbent-Stiteler building at 59 N. Fraley Street in Kane, to become an energy-efficiency model for similar enhancements in rural downtowns across the Pennsylvania Wilds. 

In addition, WPPSEF purchased the building adjacent to the Broadbent-Stiteler building and will be investing heavily into the site to make it Passive House compliant. The Passive House standard of energy efficiency in a building reduces the building’s energy footprint, allowing for ultra-low energy use relating to heating and cooling,  WPPSEF Fund Manager Joel Morrison explained during the tour of the two buildings undergoing renovations.

Morrison noted that WPPSEF will also be investing in the installation of an elevator that will be shared between the two buildings, in an effort to make the second floor accessible to individuals with disabilities. Enos said the Center looks to interpret the shared elevator agreement so it too can serve as a model. “Figuring out accessibility to the second and third floors of these downtown buildings is a major challenge to any rural downtown revitalization effort. An elevator shared between different building owners is one solution to help lower costs for all while greatly improving accessibility.”      

The site of the Media Lab was chosen due to its proximity to key leadership staff at the PA Wilds Center as well as the PA Wilds Conservation Shop at Kinzua Bridge State Park, the first brick-and-mortar gift shop managed by the PA Wilds Center.

Other partners involved in the design and build-out of the Media Lab project include The Collins Companies Foundation, Envinity Inc., and Northwest Bank Charitable Foundation. 

To learn more about the project and/or how you can invest, please contact Ta Enos, CEO & Founder of the PA Wilds Center, at tenos@pawildscenter.org

ABOUT THE PA WILDS CENTER: The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc. (PA Wilds Center) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to integrate conservation and economic development in a way that strengthens and inspires communities in the Pennsylvania Wilds. The Pennsylvania Wilds, one of the state’s 11 official tourism regions and 8 Conservation Landscapes, covers about a quarter of the Commonwealth and includes the counties of Warren, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Lycoming, Clinton, Cameron, Elk, Forest, Clarion, Jefferson, Clearfield and the northern part of Centre county. The region is known for its more than 2 million acres of public land, and also boasts two National Wild & Scenic Rivers, some of the darkest skies in the country and the largest wild elk herd in the Northeast. Visitors spend an estimated $1.8 billion in the region each year, according to the most recent statistics.

For more information on the PA Wilds Center’s programs and services, please visit www.pawildscenter.org

 

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