This new $13.8 million building at Roane State Community College mixes high-tech amenities with new teaching techniques, and it eases overcrowding at the Oak Ridge campus. It adds space for health science classes and programs such as surgical technology, organic chemistry, and pharmacy technician students. It also incorporates environmentally friendly design features such as a reflective white roof, lights that adjust automatically, geothermal wells that help heat and cool the building, and rain gardens that capture storm water runoff.
The high-tech amenities include “smart dummies” that can be programmed with symptoms to train nursing students, full multimedia and wireless systems in classrooms, and more than 300 computers, including in five computer labs. There is a distance education classroom with microphones hanging from the ceiling, and an engaged learning, or “flip,” classroom, where students do homework before class and come prepared to collaborate and solve problems.
A new surgical technology program, co-sponsored with Walters State Community College, will be housed here. There is a new organic chemistry lab, and Roane State’s pharmacy technician program is moving to Oak Ridge from the college’s main campus in Harriman. There is also a “flex lab” that can be easily and quickly configured to suit the training needs of area industries. It has a high ceiling and bay door, plenty of power and conduits, and gas and ventilation.
The new three-story, 64,000-square-foot building—officially named the Goff Health Sciences and Technology Building—might be described as Melinda Hillman’s “baby.” Hillman, who is Roane State’s vice president of advancement and community relations, has spent thousands of hours during the past six years working on the project, from its inception in 2008 through the planning and fundraising stages to the end of construction. She will be among those celebrating during a Friday morning ribbon-cutting ceremony that will feature special guests, including Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.
“It’s sort of ‘birthing a baby,’” said Hillman, who clearly has a passion for the project and hasn’t taken a vacation in a year. “I’ve worked on it so long.”
Hillman and Owen Driskill, Roane State’s director of marketing and public relations, recently led reporters on a tour of the brick-and-coated-metal building, the last expansion that the 40-acre Oak Ridge campus can accommodate. [Read more…]