After years of planning and fundraising, work has begun on a major expansion of the Roane State Community College campus in Oak Ridge.
The $13.8 million project will feature aÂ new three-story Health Sciences and Technology Building.
Land hasÂ been cleared for the 64,000-square-footÂ building, and drilling for geothermal wells has started, a Roane State press release said.
It said the buildingâ€™s foundation will be “under way and out of the ground” in mid-October. Work on theÂ building could be complete by January 2014.
Roane Stateâ€™s Oak Ridge campus opened in 1999. Originally designed for 1,800 students, the campus now has about 2,500 students, the press release said.
The new building will include space for new programs, faculty offices, new classrooms, and new labs. ItÂ will have geothermal heating and cooling and be LEED-certified for energy efficiency. It’s not clear whether classes will start in the new building in Spring 2014, the press release said.
Crossville-based Upland Design Group is the buildingâ€™s architect, and Denark Construction of Knoxville is the projectâ€™s construction manager.
The release said renovations are also complete within the current building. The bookstore has moved into a smaller space, and its former location has become a large area for Learning Support courses and the Learning Center.
Learning Support courses are classes in reading, mathematics, and writing that some students must take before they can enroll in college-level classes. The courses help students learn the skills and information they need to be successful in college-level courses, the release said.
The Learning Center, meanwhile, provides tutoring services for students, the release said.
“Placing Learning Support in the same space as the Learning Center benefits Learning Support students because tutors are on hand in the same location,” it said.
The Learning Center was located in the back of the campus library. The space included limited computer access and had only a few tables where tutors could help students. The new Learning Center includes dozens of computers and more tables for tutors and students.
The release said a new parking lot for students is also close to completion on the Briarcliff Avenue side of the campus. In the library, the computer lab has been enlarged and a new study room has been added.