Mansfield, PA – August 22, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — A deputy USDA undersecretary today joined the Mansfield University community in Pennsylvania today to break ground for Phase II of a USDA-funded residence hall that will offer students more space, create jobs in the community and help strengthen the economic vitality of the area.

“USDA is observing ‘Back to School Week,’” Acting Deputy Under Secretary Judith Canales said. “Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has invested $824 million across the nation in support of education. These investments, including those in Pennsylvania, ensure that our rural communities are equipped with the necessary tools to succeed. This project is also bridging the gap between rural and urban communities by providing modern residence halls to a rural university.”

The contemporary, suite-style housing is designed to incorporate a living-learning environment and to promote student academic success. The 634-bed residence hall is expected to be completed in fall 2013. Rural Development provided a $20.5 million Community Facilities direct loan and a $14.8 million Community Facilities guaranteed loan through First Commonwealth Bank toward Phase II of the project, which is overseen by Mansfield Auxiliary Corporation in partnership with the university.

The Community Facilities Program supports essential community facilities for public use in rural areas such as fire protection, safety, health care, education and many other community needs. In 2011, Rural Development provided more than $18 million Community Facility loans and grants to rural Pennsylvania communities.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

For more information on programs offered by USDA Rural Development, contact the Pennsylvania State Office at (717) 237-2299 or visit its website at

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

Dawn Bonsell

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