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Ceremonial Ground-Breaking for Gateway College's Covington Campus Expansion

"This is another historic day for Gateway," said Dr. Ed Hughes, President & CEO of Gateway Community & Technical College moments before sledgehammers were dropped hard on the tile of the former Marx Furniture Building on Madison Avenue in Downtown Covington.

The building is to be transformed into the Gateway Technology and Design Center. Classes are expected to begin at the newly refurbished, 50,000-square-foot facility in August 2014 as part of the college's planned $80 million urban campus that will stretch across Covington urban core.

"Since announcing in November theres been a lot of things underway in the city and we're proud to be a part of that catalytic effort," Highes said.

The City of Covington recently helped the college in acquiring $4.4 million in industrial building bonds to complete the project.

“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,” said Lee Flischel, chair of the Gateway Community and Technical College Foundation board of directors, noting that the college was making good on a promise it made to the community in 2002 when the school was founded.

"We're doing an investment from the last century to the next century, from the last millennium to the next millennium," said Rev. Richard Fowler of Ninth Street Baptist Church and a member of the Gateway Foundation Board of Directors.

The ceremony follows a string of thrilling news related to the revitalization of Downtown Covington, including new residential developments and businesses.

"The timing is perfect, the stars are aligning, and we're excited," Mayor Sherry Carran said.

"This is a great opportunity for all of Northern Kentucky, especially the urban cities," said Kenton County Judge-Executive Steve Arlinghaus. "This is a tremendous opportunity for a lot of youngsters and older folks, too."

Mike Mangeot, who sold the building to the Gateway Foundation, said owning the building was often a struggle but that it was also hard to part with.

Century Construction is the contractor for the renovation, and EOP is the architect/master planner.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photo: Groundbreaking at the Marx Building for Gateway Community & Technical College/RCN