Local, area entities receive solid funding from support of Nichols, Clardy

by Press re;ease

AUSTIN – State Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) and Texas State Representative Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches) announced Friday a significant allocation of funding for Rusk State Hospital, Caddo Mounds Visitor Center, and Stephen F. Austin State University.

"Representative Clardy and I have worked hard for many years to ensure there is awareness in the Legislature of the significant needs at Rusk State Hospital and the importance of investing in our state hospital infrastructure," said Nichols. "The additional funding for Caddo Mounds State Historic Site's Visitor Center and for Stephen F. Austin are also huge accomplishments this session. I'm excited to see the legislature dedicate needed resources to our mental health facilities, state historic sites, and institutions of higher education in East Texas."

During the 87th Legislative Session, the budget included an additional $3 million in funding for Rusk State Hospital to demolish antiquated, dangerous buildings on their campus. Rusk has undergone significant renovation in the past several years due to funding secured in the 85th and 86th Legislative Sessions to construct new, state-of-the-art inpatient psychiatric facilities.

Additionally, the budget included $400,000 for the Caddo Mounds Historic Site for their Visitor's Center. A few years ago, the visitor's center was severely damaged during a tornado that hit the area. The roof was ripped off the building and part of the building was essentially destroyed. These funds will be used for essential repairs and enhancements to the center.

Lastly, in addition to Stephen F. Austin State University's formula funding, the university will receive additional funding for their Center for Applied Research and Rural Innovation. The $2 million in funding will go toward bringing faculty and students together with business, industry, education, and community partners in dynamic, interactive environments. Through these interactions, student will learn how to use their skills to work in teams with other students from multiple disciplines in order to solve complex real-world problems for rural and smaller communities.

"I want to thank the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Finance Committee for taking the needs of East Texas into consideration when formulating the state budget," Clardy said. "I was proud to work with my good friend and colleague, Senator Nichols, to secure funding for the Rusk State Hospital, Caddo Mounds Visitor Center, and Stephen F. Austin State University. We have fought for several sessions to ensure the needs of East Texas are met, and the additional funds we received in the state budget are a major step in the right direction."