PRINCETON – A building which will offer both emergency shelter and a place for continuing education is going up, but it could get a boost if the public steps up and maximizes a matching grant that’s been offered to the Princeton Rescue Squad.

Motorists driving along Stafford Drive now see the growing structure of the Princeton Rescue Squad’s new Emergency Shelter and Education Center. About half of the project’s $3 million budget has been raised, but an anonymous donor has offered a major matching grant, Stacey Hicks, the rescue squad’s CEO, said Monday.

“We had an individual who said he will match up to $50,000,” Hicks said. “I’ve got from now until Christmas to raise as much as I can to match up to $50,000. It’s huge for us right now especially. We’ve raised a lot locally. The total project is $3 million, and we’ve raised about $1.5 million. Now we’re at the point where every dollar makes a difference toward the end of the project.”

The rescue squad’s current emergency shelter has approximately 1,500 square feet of space, but the next center will offer 6,000 square feet, Hicks stated. This new center will offer space for continuing education classes, testing, and social functions, but it will also offer shelter when emergencies such as the recent snowstorm strikes the area.

Hicks walked through the shell building’s open space and pointed out where the commercial-grade kitchen, classes, shelter area and other facilities will be located. Once finished, it could shelter 100 to 150 people, Hicks said. Unlike the current facility, the new center’s equipment will include an emergency generator.

The deadline for receiving donations is Dec. 24, Hicks said. Checks can be made out to the Princeton Rescue Squad Building Fund and sent to 701 Stafford Drive, Princeton, WV 24740.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com