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New Blount County campus building being planned

by: Josh Witt

Building will be home to dual enrollment and advanced manufacturing classes

Pellissippi State’s Blount County campus is raising money for a new building, according to Facilities Director Regina McNew.

The new “Workforce Development Center (WDC)” is inspired by Pellissppi’s Strawberry Plains campus. Strawberry Plains’s “Megalab” is an inspiration for a new advanced manufacturing space in the WDC.

Students from local school districts would use the Workforce Development Center to participate in dual enrollment classes. A flyer for the building says that the building’s goal is to “supply the best trained workforce to remain globally competitive.”

“[It] would have a program similar to what we have at Strawberry Plains with Knox County Schools,” said McNew.

Pellissippi began renting out part of their Strawberry Plains campus to Knox County Schools in 2014, where they established the Career Magnet Academy. Students at CMA focus heavily on taking dual enrollment classes (classes at the college level for college credit) as they progress through high school.

The Workforce Development Center will house equipment for mechanical and electrical engineering classes, as well as computer science, sustainable design, welding, and nursing classes, says The Daily Times. Local business leaders are rallying around the project, citing the region’s need for more skilled technicians and manufacturers.

Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell says in The Daily Times, “I really believe that technical training for our upcoming workforce is one of the most important ways to spend limited resources.”

  • The project is backed by three school systems in the region: Blount County Schools, Alcoa City Schools, and Maryville City Schools.
  • The building is projected to cost $16.5 million, according to The Daily Times. The Tennessee College of Applied Technology will help cover costs.
  • Expected completion of the building is July 2019.