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The dream becomes reality ... BLOUNT COUNTY CAMPUS

The state of Tennessee has completed its purchase of property for the College to relocate and expand its current site, Blount County Center, and construction will now begin.

“Pellissippi State is committed to improving the educational opportunities available to Blount County residents,” said Allen Edwards, president of Pellissippi State. “Building the new campus supports our mission and dedication to higher education in East Tennessee.”

The new campus is projected to cost more than $22 million, with $17.2 million coming from the state and more than $2.9 million coming from the sale of the Blount County Center property on Middlesettlements Road in Alcoa.

ground breaking

The remaining $2 million needed to complete the facility will come from funds raised by the Pellissippi State Foundation. The Foundation is in the midst of a major gifts campaign that includes the project.

“With the additional giving for the Blount County campaign, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build the optimal campus,” said Jerome Moon, Pellissippi State Foundation Board of Trustees member.

The 39.5-acre property was purchased from James A. Bumgarner and Dorothy B. Petree for approximately $1.18 million. The land is located at 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway (Highway 321), with access from South Old Grey Ridge Road and Nelson Lane. The property fronts both sides of the highway, with about 3.5 acres on one side and the remainder on the other.

“When I was first approached about selling the Bumgarner family farm, I thought that a college campus would be a good addition to the community and that my father would be pleased,” said Dorothy Petree. “I taught in public schools for 34 years. Our daughters are teachers, too. Given our family history, I think we’d all be proud to help generate educational opportunities for this area.”

After requesting and receiving input from a community site advisory committee, Pellissippi State looked at a number of properties in Blount County before deciding on the Friendsville site.

“All of them were excellent,” said Moon, who also is chair of the Site Advisory Committee, “but with considerable community input, the decision made was the best fit for the community and the College’s future. This site will allow for expansion and growth within the community.”

“Pellissippi State has been looking and planning for a new campus for Blount County for a long time,” said Steve West, co-chair of the Blount County portion of the Foundation’s major gifts campaign.

“We feel that we found the best location to fill the needs of Blount County and area students. We have also used this time to visualize what a true college campus should look and feel like. This is the next exciting step in higher education for Blount County.”

map

“Really, all of this has been made possible by the good people of Blount County,” said Edwards.

“Without the support of the Blount County Commission, who authorized us in 1999 to use the proceeds from the sale of Blount County Center for the construction and improvement of a new facility, we would never have been able to pursue this dream.”

While the old Bungalow School served the needs of the College for many years, the institution has outgrown the aging facility.

Currently, more than 700 students attend classes at the Blount County Center. Yet more than 1,300 Pellissippi State students list Blount County as their residence. A new, expanded facility will allow more students to attend classes nearer to where they live.

“Having this space will also allow us to be more responsive to the training needs of local business and industry,” said Teri Brahams, executive director of Business and Community Services at Pellissippi State.

The state has awarded the design contract to Community Tectonics and Cope Associates jointly and the construction management contract to Messer Construction Company.

The College plans to  offer classes at the site for the first time in the fall of 2010.