Feb. 26, 2002 – Passage of legislation creating the University of the Virgin Islands Research and Technology Park on St. Croix is an accomplishment for UVI and for the territory as a whole, Dr. Orville Kean, UVI president, said Tuesday.
"It's going to provide a gateway to the establishment of a strong information-technology sector in the Virgin Islands," Kean said in a UVI release.
Malcolm Kirwan, UVI vice president for administration and finance, said the park is designed to position the territory "as a competitive off-shore location for U.S. technology companies and e-commerce businesses." He called it "an approach to information-age economic development that capitalizes on strategic partnerships that break down old barriers between higher education and industry, and between economic development and higher education."
William DeLone, special assistant to Kean, said the legislation "is a concrete step in terms of diversification of the Virgin Islands economy and a significant economic stimulus for the island of St. Croix." According to the release, it is anticipated that the park will provide jobs for local residents that will broaden the tax base as new enterprises create secondary business opportunities for lawyers, Realtors, accountants and human resources professionals.
The release stated that the park "will promote the economic growth, development and diversification of the U.S. Virgin Islands and will broaden the capabilities of the university through technology training in concert with the public sector, private industry and human and economic resources available in the community." And as a result, it said, "UVI faculty, staff and students will benefit from new courses and certificate and degree programs."
Kean expressed gratitude to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull and members of the 24th Legislature for their support of the technology park bill as it moved through the legislative process.
At a meeting of the UVI Board of Trustees on Saturday, Auguste E. Rimpel Jr., board chair, credited Kirwan with "giving life to the idea" of such a park. Rimpel also recognized LaVerne Ragster, senior vice president and provost; DeLone; Denise Kurg, a UVI administrator; attorneys Samuel Hall and Marjorie Roberts; business consultant Steve Rohrlick and businessman Michael Fields for their efforts "to bring this process to this particular point."
With the legislation in place, the release stated, the next steps toward making the park a reality will involve development of a viable work force, attraction of high-tech companies, and development of an infrastructure of roads, power and telecommunications. The UVI Research and Technology Park Corp. will be charged with attracting tenants. "The university will continue to play a major planning and development role until the organizational structure is put in place," Kean said.
Kean, who announced last June that he will retire in September after 10 years as UVI's chief executive, said, "To be president when this milestone event has taken place is a very happy and rewarding event. I couldn't be more pleased."


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