There was a ceremonial groundbreaking in Casper Tuesday. The Casper Area Economic Development Alliance broke ground for its Casper Area Innovation Center.

Among the dignitaries in attendance was Gov. Matt Mead, who said supporting start-up businesses does not blur the line between the public and private sector.

Gov. Matt Mead:

"It's providing an opportunity, it's not providing a guarantee of success. It's saying here, here's a place, you got a good idea, you're willing to work very hard, here's a way to sort of launch you, and then you're on your own. And so I don't view it as competing with the private sector, I view as a way to supplement what's going on in the private sector, and that's my hope and that's my belief of what'll happen here."

Innovation Center Director DeAnna Adams said with the economic conditions as they are, entrepreneurs and innovative ideas are where the jobs will come from.

CAIC Director DeAnna Adams:

"Established large companies today, because of the recession, because of the economy, are cutting back on employees. In order to save market share, in order to save their companies, they're cutting back; the easiest place is employees. Start-up companies are hiring because they want a portion of that market share."

Ms. Adams says she prefers the term "business accelerator" to business incubator.

The innovation center began with the antique Amoco administration building, which Adams says has about 10 thousand square feet, and they are going to build an addition with another 35 thousand square feet for offices and a science lab.

The primary contractor is FCI Constructors out of Cheyenne. Project Manager Ross Choate says they were careful with that old brick Amoco building.

Project Manager Ross Choate:

"In my opinion, this is a piece of history that the owners, GSG Architects and FCI have gone to great lengths to make sure that the integrity and it's original construction back in 1914, I believe, is kept intact."

The scheduled completion for the Casper Area Innovation Center is summer 2012.