RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Saint Augustine’s University is receiving thousands of dollars in federal funding for its new Tuttle Public Health Center.

University leaders, along with Congresswoman Deborah Ross and Congressman Wiley Nickel were on campus for today’s announcement of $490,000 in federal funding from the Omnibus Funding Bill for Fiscal Year 2023. That money will help with plans to expand capacity for the university’s public health program and will also go to community outreach efforts for the new health center, including a community garden and an industrial kitchen to help the community improve its eating habits.

Saint Augustine’s associate vice president of health initiatives Dr. Michael Brown tells CBS 17 they want public health students to get first-hand experience on tackling problems facing communities of color and low-income areas.

“The main priority we have is having people from the community in the community and actively engaging the community and that’s our number one goal,” Brown said.

University officials said students will have access to state-of-the-art technology in the new facility.

Saint Augustine’s leaders plan to open the center either this semester or by fall at the latest.