By Bob Fowler, Roane State staff writer
The new Anderson County Higher Education Center â€œis an example of what should be happeningâ€ to spur workforce development, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee told a large crowd on Friday, December 10.
Gesturing to students in the back who will be attending classes at the center starting in January, Lee thanked them for â€œpursuing the path youâ€™re pursuing.
â€œThe private sector drives what weâ€™re doing here,â€ Lee told attendees crowded into the spacious classroom where diesel powered technology will soon be taught.
In the planning and construction stages for years, the center will soon offer several Roane State Community College and Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville classes.
Itâ€™s a 48,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility where more than 200 students will be enrolled. It cost $11 million, and SL Tennessee, an auto parts manufacturer next door, donated seven acres for the center, located on Frank L. Diggs Drive in the Clinton/I-75 Industrial Park.
â€œWhen we all work together, we can accomplish a lot in a short period of time,â€ SL Tennessee manager Scott Laska said.
Roane Stateâ€™s mechatronics classes, now in a former National Guard Armory in Clinton, along with the community collegeâ€™s injection molding and robotics courses, will now be located at the center.
TCAT classes, which had been housed for six years in a former grocery store on Andersonville Highway, will also be held in the new center. Those programs will include welding, diesel power equipment technology, auto tech, industrial maintenance, and building trades.
With the center, â€œWe will be opening opportunities for the people in our county and region,â€ Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said. She called the facility â€œa win for the people who will find their lives changed, their horizons broadened, and their futures brighter.â€
Flora Tydings, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, praised the â€œgreat partnership between TCAT and the community college.â€
â€œStudents here are going to go on to a bright future,â€ she predicted.
Listening to the remarks were students who will be attending classes at the new center. â€œItâ€™s a beautiful facility,â€ said Trevor Martin, who had been studying industrial maintenance at TCATâ€™s location in the remodeled grocery story. â€œItâ€™s much better than the old facility. They really wanted the best for us.â€
Scott Loyd, a high school senior now taking welding classes at the Anderson County Vocational Center, also praised the new facility. â€œItâ€™s a good school, it seems like,â€ he said. â€œI feel like Iâ€™ll get somewhere if I go here.â€
â€œIâ€™m very much looking forward to having classes here in January.â€
For more information on the new Anderson County Higher Education Center, visit roanestate.edu/anderson.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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