Large building rendering

Breaking New Ground

Large building rendering

Breaking New Ground

cmills4 April 26, 2019
One of my favorite times of the year is the first day of the semester at Pellissippi State. I never know who I’m going to end up helping that first day. Are they future scientists, teachers, manufacturers?

It was with that same sense of excitement – and a few of those familiar first-day jitters – that we announced Feb. 1 Pellissippi State’s largest expansion in 44 years. In a jam-packed, star-studded, two-campus event, we unveiled plans for two new buildings we’ll break ground on this year: a center for math and science on our Hardin Valley Campus and a workforce development center on our Blount County Campus.

male standing at podium
Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. announces the College will build two new buildings during the Big Reveal event Feb. 1.

It was a historic day at Pellissippi State. Never before have we had two capital projects occurring simultaneously. Never before have we set a $10 million fundraising goal. And never before have we engaged so many volunteers in the process of supporting our students.

The new 82,000-square-foot center for math and science will help Pellissippi State meet demands for classrooms and lab spaces that have increased due to Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, our state’s last-dollar scholarships offered to high school seniors and adults without college degrees. The need for this building is clear. Kane Barker, the dean for Natural and Behavioral Sciences, reports that most science labs are at full capacity. Many students need those labs and other math and science classes in order to graduate on time. This new building will double the capacity for many of our core courses.

Meanwhile, over in Blount County, the economy is booming. Blount County has experienced $2.8 billion in new capital investment and announced 5,500 new jobs since 2011, according to the Blount Partnership. Pellissippi State’s new 53,000-square-foot workforce development center on our Blount County Campus will help fill the area’s need for highly skilled, college-educated employees. The new building will allow us to expand our Engineering Technology, Computer Information Technology and Culinary Arts associate degree programs and certificates, among others.

Pellissippi State plans to break ground on the new center for math and science in May and the workforce development center in December, with both buildings opening to students in fall 2021.

How much will these buildings cost us? Just a fraction of what you might think. Of the $27 million needed for construction of the new center for math and science, Pellissippi State is responsible for $2.7 million, as the rest is primarily funded by the state. Meanwhile, Pellissippi State will need to raise $5.5 million for the $16.5 million workforce development center because the state and Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville are also investing in this building.

BarberMcMurry Architects’ rendering of the center for math and science on the Hardin Valley Campus.

We set a $10 million fundraising goal for this capital campaign. So where are the rest of those dollars going? Other priorities announced Feb. 1 include $800,000 to expand Pellissippi State’s Media Technology program, including the Audio Production Engineering concentration, as well as $1 million to help support our students and faculty.

Another thing that made our Big Reveal event on Feb. 1 so exciting was that we got to share that the Pellissippi State Foundation already had raised $8 million of its $10 million goal, thanks to significant contributions from donors such as the Haslam Family Foundation; Ruth and Steve West; Blount County, the City of Maryville and the City of Alcoa in partnership with the Industrial Development Board; Pilot Flying J; Arconic Foundation; Clayton Family Foundation; Clayton Homes Inc.; UT-Battelle; DENSO North America Foundation; Oak Ridge Associated Universities; UCOR, an AECOM-led partnership with Jacobs; William
Ed Harmon and the Thompson Charitable Foundation.

While the Foundation is hard at work raising that remaining $2 million, we’d like to introduce you to some of the people and programs that will be helped by these funds. These are just a few examples of how Pellissippi State is impacting the lives of students, no matter which field they choose to pursue. I hope you enjoy hearing their stories.

Pellissippi State Community College