Tennessee community colleges get some building relief

Nashville State Community College and Pellissippi State Community College are using the funds to purchase buildings for off-campus sites.  And Northeast State is looking at a building in downtown Johnson City.

TN community colleges to receive millions to improve campuses
Eleven Tennessee community colleges are celebrating a multimillion-dollar windfall that should give them the funds they need to build up, build out or refurbish their overcrowded campuses.

Members of the Tennessee Board of Regents voted Tuesday to divide $87 million in unexpected construction funding among the schools with the greatest need, the best plan for getting their campus improvements built quickly and matching funds from outside donors.

"This is a great day," said TBR member John Farris, who chaired the committee that combed through the colleges' applications and whittled a $227 million wish list down to $87 million, with no one college receiving more than $9 million.
Pellissippi State Community College could soon be expanding into East Knox County, where it is looking to purchase a sprawling 18-acre campus that once housed Philips Consumer Electronics' North American headquarters.

The school's $8.5 million funding request was added to a list of recommended projects by an ad hoc committee made up of Tennessee Board of Regents Trustees.

The committee considered how to dole out $88 million in funding for community college capital projects.

The recommended list of projects will go before the full Board of Regents on Thursday for approval, then to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and State Building Commission.

If the building is approved, the school could start using it in the fall.

"This basically just changed everything for us," said Pellissippi State President Allen Edwards, who expects the Board of Regents to OK the project.
Northeast State takes look at Downtown Centre
One of downtown Johnson City’s largest buildings, the nearly abandoned Downtown Centre, along with the downtown community around it could soon be brought back to life with the help of Northeast State Community College.

After touring the former courthouse in mid-November the community college is considering purchasing the building to house a much needed Washington County campus. The college currently has campuses located in Elizabethton, Blountville and Kingsport, but with a large number of students travelling from Washington County, there is a significant need for a Johnson City campus.

Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge said the college is very early in their search for a facility for a Washington County campus.

“They’ve expressed their interest in establishing a Washington County campus, which we very much want to encourage,” Eldridge said. “They liked what they saw but they are still very, very early in their process.”

The tour, he said, was a way for school officials to familiarize themselves with the facility and the layout. According to Eldridge, their response was positive as they identified spaces for lecture halls, classrooms, administrative offices, student commissary and well over 300 parking spaces in the parking garage.

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