Pellissippi State purchases East Knox site for Strawberry Plains Campus

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Pellissippi State Community College has purchased the former Philips Consumer Electronics’ East Tennessee headquarters for the site of its new Strawberry Plains Campus, said Pellissippi State President Anthony Wise today.

“We are very excited about the acquisition of the new campus at Strawberry Plains,” said Wise. “This project has been part of the college’s master plan for several years and will allow us to increase access to our programs and to work toward the fulfillment of the goals of the Complete College Tennessee Act.”

The 32.6-acre property is located at 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike in East Knox County, off Interstate 40.

Pellissippi State bought the property for $10 million, an acquisition that required approval of the Tennessee Board of Regents, the college’s governing board, as well as the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and the State Building Commission. A state program that funded community college capital projects contributed $8.5 million toward the cost. The Pellissippi State Foundation paid the remaining $1.5 million through private donations.
Pellissippi State plans to open the Strawberry Plains Campus fall semester.

The college has long recognized the need for more effective outreach in the east, north and south parts of Knox County. It’s a need driven in part by the area’s educational demographic. In West Knox County, 43.6 percent of residents have college degrees, according to a report the college compiled with U.S. Department of Census data. In the rest of the county, 22.9 percent of residents have a degree.

Pellissippi State became aware of the availability of the 223,000-square-foot facility in 2010. Philips constructed the building in 1980, a project that took two years, then completed a major renovation and remodel in 2002. The facility has been vacant since 2006 when Philips moved out.

The three-story main building is partially furnished and makes up most of the square footage on the property. The facility also has open office space, gathering areas, private offices, a full-service cafeteria and kitchen, a theater-style presentation room, a warehouse area with loading dock, and a design wing once used by company engineers.

“One of the reasons the property was attractive to us is that it already has the feel of a college campus,” Wise said. “It has large open office spaces that can be transformed fairly easily into classroom space.”

The addition of the Strawberry Plains Campus will give the college a total of five campus locations.

The Pellissippi Campus, which is the main site, is located on Hardin Valley Road in West Knox County. The Division Street and Magnolia Avenue campuses are located in Knoxville as well. The Blount County Campus is at 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway (U.S. 321).

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