Pellissippi State opens Strawberry Plains Megalab

Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr., far right, welcomed visitors to the new Megalab at the college's Strawberry Plains Campus Friday, Sept. 18. Pictured with Wise, from left, are Mike North, Strawberry Plains Campus dean; Warren Nichols, Tennessee Board of Regents vice chancellor for community colleges; and Rhonda Sparks, continuous learning business partner at Keurig Green Mountain Inc.
Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr., far right, welcomed visitors to the new Megalab at the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus Friday, Sept. 18. Pictured with Wise, from left, are Mike North, Strawberry Plains Campus dean; Warren Nichols, Tennessee Board of Regents vice chancellor for community colleges; and Rhonda Sparks, continuous learning business partner at Keurig Green Mountain Inc.

Today, Pellissippi State Community College hosted the grand opening of what it’s calling the Megalab, an economic and workforce development partnership initiative. The Megalab is located in the Jenny and Randy Boyd Building at the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus.

The lab houses equipment for advanced manufacturing, additive manufacturing (3D printing), homeland security and sustainable living courses. The facility’s unique setup is available to students not only from Pellissippi State, but from Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville and the Career Magnet Academy at Pellissippi State.

“Each and every one of our students has promise, each of our students has a pathway to success, and every one of our students can benefit from our partnerships with the community, both on and off campus,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State’s president, during the grand opening ceremony. “Those facts are very evident in this Megalab, this place of shared vision in how to create educational and economic opportunities in this area of East Tennessee.”

Students using the Megalab will learn skills important to local industry. The Megalab will be a focal point for those pursuing certificates, degrees or other credentials in a variety of fields, including welding, automated industrial systems, industrial maintenance, cyber security and even agri-economics. National associations and corporations such as the American Welding Society, FANUC Robotics and the National Institute for Metalworking Skills will offer credentials to students who learn in the lab.

Randy Boyd, Tennessee commissioner of economic and community development, said, “I was blown away by this space when I walked in. Students in Tennessee, through the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, can now go to college free of tuition, but students need modern equipment and modern, great facilities.

“This facility is such a blessing for this area. It’ll be even more exciting when students go in there and begin to learn.”

Warren Nichols, Tennessee Board of Regents vice chancellor of community colleges, also lauded the Megalab as an example of what can happen when educational institutions work with community partners.

“We’re truly the topic of conversation across the nation,” he said.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Download this press release: Mega Lab Opens

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Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr.
Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr.
Randy Boyd, Tennessee commissioner of economic and community development.
Randy Boyd, Tennessee commissioner of economic and community development.
Warren Nichols, Tennessee Board of Regents vice chancellor of community colleges.
Warren Nichols, Tennessee Board of Regents vice chancellor of community colleges.
Pellissippi State Community College student Seth Giles demonstrates equipment in the Megalab.
Pellissippi State Community College student Seth Giles demonstrates equipment in the Megalab.
Career Magnet Academy at Pellissippi State students demonstrate equipment in the Megalab.
Career Magnet Academy at Pellissippi State students demonstrate equipment in the Megalab.