The Institute For Advanced Learning And Research Sets The Bar High With A $25.5 Million Center For Manufacturing Advancement

The Institute For Advanced Learning And Research Sets The Bar High With A 25.5 Million Dollar Center For Manufacturing Advancement
South Virginia’s advanced manufacturing center was enhanced by a 51,250 square foot Center [Source: IALR]

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) has built a Center for Manufacturing Advancement (CMA) that spans 51,250 square feet on the IALR campus.


Impressive in both size and capability, this CMA, funded by the Commonwealth and the Danville Regional Foundation, intends to offer “a platform for leading-edge business success specifically targeted at manufacturing companies establishing or expanding their presence in Southern Virginia”. The $25.5 million project is being built in cooperation with Virginia’s Division of Engineering and Buildings.

Projected to open in 2022, ground was broken in December 2020. The CMA is going to be built adjacent to the Kyocera SGS Tech Hub facility. IALR explains that it “will feature two floors, offices, meeting rooms, areas to house support services and the following amenities for manufacturer tenants:

  • rapid-launch facilities that will enable new businesses to begin limited operations off-site during what is traditionally the initial downtime as new businesses wait for their factory to be constructed and equipped to support full operations;
  • an ISO-certified inspection lab that will provide integrated inspection capabilities required to validate product quality. This service will reduce the start-up phase for a new company by 4 to 6 months, the time required to certify an inspection lab;
  • process improvement labs that will enable new and existing businesses to improve their processes in a more expeditious manner, thereby ensuring global competitiveness;
  • an industry 4.0 integration and training lab that will support next-generation manufacturing requirements
  • a platform for collaborative innovation that allows manufacturing companies, technology companies, and engineering students to work together to discover, integrate, and showcase emerging technology; and
  • concierge service that provides the wrap-around support needed by companies new to the U.S. during their critical start-up phase.”

As few other places offer similar services, the CMA is “expected to serve as an important economic development tool and provide Virginia with a competitive edge in 21st century manufacturing”. The IALR campus allows the CMA to draw governance, leadership, and administrative support from the IALR.

Some Words On The Project:

The IALR [Source: IALR]

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam says:

“Southern Virginia is a top location for advanced manufacturers from across the globe, and the Center for Manufacturing Advancement will undoubtedly help attract more of them to the region. This state-of-the-art facility will play an important role in driving economic development and innovation in Virginia, while also helping the existing Danville-Pittsylvania business community grow and thrive.”

Marc Gignac, Executive Director of the IALR, notes:

“Southern Virginia has a rich legacy workforce development program in place to support the hiring needs of top advanced manufacturers across the region and state. The new Center for Manufacturing Advancement is a natural next step in positioning our area as a leader in this sector, and as an expert resource for those companies wishing to establish a location here locally.”

Troy Simpson, Director of Advanced Manufacturing at the IALR, explains:

“As technology exponentially advances, it is critical we stay at the forefront of integrating these innovations into training and manufacturing processes. Our new Center for Manufacturing Advancement will do just that – allow companies to interface with one another, technology providers and students to leverage space, collaboration and equipment opportunities for their own growth and advancement.”

Support for the initiative came from the state government, stakeholders, and a dedicated team of architects, builders, engineers, and landscape architects.

My Thoughts

Quite clearly the CMA has amassed tons of support in the region. I really appreciate how strategically planned this whole project was. Every decision has a reason to back it up! Placing the CMA on the IALR campus is an excellent idea as it allows the CMA to share resources and provide economic gain for the region as a whole. It really has the potential to boost Virginia’s appeal on the global manufacturing scale!

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