Pellissippi State Community College announced its largest expansion since the college’s opening

Pellissippi State Community College announced its largest expansion since the college’s opening in 1974, including two new buildings on two of their campuses.

A new math and science building will be built on the Hardin Valley campus, with construction starting at the end of this spring semester. A workforce development center will be built on the Blount County campus, with construction starting at the end of 2019.

Both buildings are scheduled to open in fall 2021.

“It’s going to be a couple of really exciting years,” PSCC President Anthony Wise said.

Expansion has a large price tag

The $27 million math and science building will be 82,000 square feet and include 18 classrooms, six computer labs and nine science labs. When completed, it will be the largest building on the Hardin Valley campus.

“Pellissippi State’s general biology lab is in use for 12 hours a day, five days a week, with most labs at full capacity,” said Kane Barker, dean of natural and behavioral sciences. “Many studentsneed this course and other math and science classes in order to graduate on time. This new building will double the capacity for many of our core classes.”

Wise said the new building will address some “capacity concerns,” and allow for more science and math classes.

The building will be primarily funded by the state, with PSCC raising $2.7 million of the total cost.

The workforce development center at the Blount County campus will cost $16.5 million and is being funded by the state and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville, which will occupy part of the building.

PSCC will be responsible for raising $5.5 million of the workforce development center.

Wise said the workforce development needs in Blount County “are really immediate,” and will help address the need for more maintenance technicians, electrical engineers and robotics technicians in the area.

“This building is really focused on the technical workforce needs in Blount County,” Wise said. “The Blount partnership has really done a great job of growing the workforce space both of existing companies and recruiting new companies into the region.”

Among the major donors to the capital campaign project, the Industrial Development Board of Blount County, City of Alcoa and City of Maryville have pledged $1 million to project.

Other funding priorities listed

The college also announced two other funding priorities: $800,000 to expand the Media and Technology Program, specifically the Audio Production Engineering concentration, and $1 million toward student scholarships and emergency assistance and funding faculty departments, programs and professional development opportunities.

In total, there will be a $10 million fundraising goal.

The Pellissippi State Foundation has already raised $8 million of the $10 million goal through contributions from the Haslam Family Foundation, Pilot Flying J, Ruth and Steve West and several other donors.

Tom Ballard, chairman of The Campaign for Pellissippi State, thanked the officials and donors who attended the announcement.

U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and former Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale were in attendance at the Hardin Valley announcement.

“The public sector is so important to the success of Pellissippi State in many ways,” Ballard said.

Wise said this is the first time the college has had two capital projects being built at the same time, and the first time they have set a $10 million fundraising goal.

“Today is a historic day at Pellissippi State,” Wise said.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Monica Kast

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Published February 7, 2019