Pellissippi State’s new Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science opens ahead of fall semester

Ribbon cutting for Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science, outside the lobby doors
Pellissippi State Community College Student Government Association President Caitlandt Southall, center with ceremonial scissors, cuts the ribbon for the new Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus on Tuesday, Aug. 17. Joining her on the front row, from left, are Tennessee Higher Education Commission Executive Director Emily House, Regent Danni B. Varlan, Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings, former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Crissy Haslam and Meg Counts of Pilot Company.

Pellissippi State Community College students in math, science and teacher education courses will return to classes next week in a state-of-the-art new building. 

Denark Construction completed the Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus this summer, and a Ribbon Cutting Celebration was held Tuesday, Aug. 17, to celebrate.  

“We made a strategic decision that if we’re going to teach science, mathematics and teacher education, as well as have the ability to offer new programs like Water Quality Technology, we had to make this investment,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “We are really grateful for our partnership with BarberMcMurry Architects in thinking about what this space might look like, not only for teaching and learning inside the classroom, but for the kind of collaboration that is necessary outside the classroom for our students to be successful in working with each other and with their faculty and staff.” 

The new 82,000-square-foot building has been under construction since May 2019. It includes 18 classrooms, six computer labs, nine science labs and a teacher education center for the college’s Early Childhood Education and Teacher Education programs. 

“As I walked around inside the Haslam Center, I was impressed with the meaningful use of space and the attention to detail to better serve our students,” said Pellissippi State alumnus Carlos Gonzalez, who is finishing his bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a certificate in teaching at Maryville College. “For example, the Teacher Education Center and the state-of-the-art equipment in the labs — having these resources will keep students competitive in today’s society.” 

Opening the new building allows Pellissippi State to transform its Hardin Valley Campus, Wise added, by thinking about the spaces those programs have vacated and other ways to use them to support other college programs and initiatives. 

Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, for whom the building is named, was on hand Tuesday to tour the new building. As governor of Tennessee from 2011 to 2019, Haslam was key to establishing Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, last-dollar scholarships that provide two years of tuition-free attendance at a community or technical college in Tennessee, and the Haslam Family Foundation and Pilot Company were “Campaign Leaders” for Pellissippi State’s new math and science center, donating between $500,000 and $1 million toward the $27 million project. 

“I was thinking, driving out here, if you were going to pick a perfect location for a community college, you might pick this one,” Haslam said. “You’re strategically located between Oak Ridge and everything that is happening there, Blount County and Knox County. And if you’re going to find a really critical discipline that you want to make certain you have the room to grow and expand, it would be math and science.” 

Exterior of the Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science
The Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Class will welcome its first students to class when the college’s fall semester starts Monday, Aug. 23.

Haslam told the audience that he had talked last night with Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thomas Zacharia, Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and others about how to leverage the area’s assets of ORNL, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee Valley Authority and the University of Tennessee, among others. 

“Among the key tactics to make that happen is the success of Pellissippi State,” Haslam said. “You all feel like I do: that the key to success is giving more folks a chance for education. We’re struggling with a lot of things in this country – a whole lot of things that are dividing us – and to me, the best answer for all of those problems comes back to more opportunity out of great public education. So thank you to all of you who serve, work out here and have been a part of making this happen. I truly am honored by it and always will be.” 

Following the ribbon cutting, Pellissippi State held an open house so that guests could tour the new building. Pellissippi State’s fall 2021 classes start Monday, Aug. 23, as many students return to campus for the first time since March 2020. 

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Graduate spotlight: Debbie Bonds achieves lifelong dream of college degree at 70

Debbie Bonds headshot
Debbie Bonds finally had the opportunity to start college at 68 years old, after her parents made her drop out of high school at 16. She graduates from Pellissippi State this week at 70!

When Debbie Bonds parents made her drop out of high school at the age of 16, she thought her dreams of going to college and becoming a teacher were over. Debbie went on to get married, work a full career and raise her children as a single mom for many years 

When she re-married in 2013Debbie’s new husband asked her if there was anything that she’d always dreamed of doing but never gotten to. Debbie told her husband she wanted to go to college. Debbie started Pellissippi State in 2018 and will graduate this month, at age 70, with her general Associate of Science degree 

“College changed me,” Debbie says. “It opened up a whole new life for me at 68 years old, and I really would love to see every adult experience it.” 

When she started considering how to go to college as an adult learner, Debbie discovered Tennessee Reconnect, for which she says she is wholeheartedly grateful.  

I really want to see more adult learners take advantage of what’s available to them,” she says. The first time my tuition was paid for by Tennessee Reconnect, I was beside myself! I think about all the adult learners that it could make a difference for. If they don’t do this, they’re missing the boat. If I had done this when I was 30 years old, it would have changed the whole trajectory of my life. Everything would have been different.”  

Debbie jumped right into college life and got involved in the National Society of Leadership and Success as well as the Student Government Association at Pellissippi State.  

“I’ve enjoyed my time in those organizations a lot,” shares Debbie. “I chose the organizations that I wanted to be a part of because I knew I couldn’t do everything. There are many great student organizations at Pellissippi State, and I advise every student to become a part of at least one organization. It’s part of that college life that everyone needs to experience. 

It’s never too late to gain an education,” Debbie adds. Every little bit of knowledge can never be taken away from you. Even if you have to do it part time, if you have to do it one class at a time, do it. However you have to do it, do it! 

Debbie, congratulations on achieving your dream of graduating from college! You are #PellissippiStrong! #PSCCgrad21 

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Pellissippi State’s new math and science building opens this fall, more classes planned for on campus

Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science under construction in December 2020
Pellissippi State’s new Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science is underway on its Hardin Valley Campus and will open for classes this fall.

Pellissippi State Community College will welcome more students back to campus this fall, with the new Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science opening in August. 

The new 82,000-square-foot building on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus has been under construction since May 2019 and is on track to open for fall 2021 classes, as was planned before the pandemic. It will include 18 classrooms, six computer labs, nine science labs and a teacher education center for the college’s Early Childhood Education and Teacher Education programs. 

“The Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science will help us meet demands for classrooms and lab spaces that have increased due to the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect scholarships,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise JrAnd with more classes meeting on campus and more student services open in person, we are hopeful that fall 2021 will feel more like fall 2019 than fall 2020.” 

Pellissippi State plans to offer more in-person classes in fall 2021, although the college will continue to offer classes in other formats as well. 

“Our No. 1 priority since the pandemic began has been providing a safe environment for our students and employees,” Wise said.  “We feel like we’ve been able to do that thanks to technology and the flexibility and dedication of our faculty and staff, but we look forward to seeing more faces on campus this fall.” 

Pellissippi State’s emergency management team, which has been handling decisions during the pandemic, will continue to meet and determine what protocols to put in place before fall semester begins Aug. 23. The college will continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and as well as local health department guidance for preventing the spread of COVID-19 on campus. 

“By limiting the number of classes taught in person during the pandemic, we were able to ensure that our students who opted for on-campus classes had the space necessary to practice social distancing,” Wise said. “Even as we offer more in-person options this fall, our faculty and staff are working together to ensure that classes are staggered in a way that still allows for social distancing not only inside our classrooms, but also in our buildings’ common spaces in between classes.” 

Students who prefer online courses still will have a variety of classes to choose from. Pellissippi State’s online enrollment had been growing even before the pandemic began as students chose options that allowed them to learn from home on their own time instead of meeting with their instructors and classmates at a set time. 

Pellissippi State offers 62 pathways that will transfer to four-year universities in addition to its 27 programs that prepare graduates to enter the workforce in two years, all for about $2,100 in tuition per semester for a full-time student.  

Registration for summer and fall 2021 begins April 5. To learn more about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. 

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Pellissippi State welcomes displaced Fountainhead College students

Pellissippi State Community College wants to help Fountainhead College of Technology students displaced by that institution’s closing Wednesday.

“We understand this can feel like an insurmountable setback to Fountainhead College students, and we invite them to contact us to see if one of our career programs or transfer programs are right for them,” said Leigh Anne Touzeau, assistant vice president for Enrollment Services.

Pellissippi State’s 14 career programs result in associate degrees that prepare students to enter the workforce in high-demand, competitive fields including computer information technology, electrical engineering technology, engineering technology, mechanical engineering technology and media technologies.

Pellissippi State also offers transfer programs that allow students to get started in their field of choice, earn an associate degree and then transfer seamlessly to a four-year institution.

A full list of Pellissippi State programs is available at www.pstcc.edu/catalog.

Fountainhead College students may be eligible for Tennessee Reconnect, Touzeau added. This last-dollar scholarship for adults covers college tuition and mandatory fees that aren’t paid for through other state and federal financial aid.

Adult learners qualify for Tennessee Reconnect if they:

  • Do not have an associate or bachelor degree;
  • Have been a Tennessee resident since Aug. 1, 2017;
  • Complete the 2018-19 FAFSA;
  • Are designated as an “independent” on the FAFSA;
  • Attend and complete courses at least as a part-time student, taking a minimum of six credit hours per semester; and
  • Complete the TN Reconnect application at www.tnreconnect.gov.

“Our goal here at Pellissippi State is to help students start strong, stay strong and finish strong,” Touzeau said. “We know this is a scary time for Fountainhead College students, and we would love to help them continue their educational journey.”

The Admissions office is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information, visit one of our campuses; check out www.pstcc.edu/admissions, where Live Chat is available for those with questions; email admissions@pstcc.edu or call 865.694.6400.

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