Northeast State Community College is moving one step closer to a project that's been with the planning board for 15 years.
Last night Governor Bill Haslam announced the college would be receiving 35 million dollars to help with the new building.
Northeast State Community College President Dr. Janice Gilliam said it was long overdue. "We're really tied. Our enrollment is capped until we can get some extra space," said Dr. Gilliam.
Gilliam says the new technology building is much needed. "First of all, we're using the current buildings at 150 percent ratings in some areas," she said.
Second-year student Michael Adams says the machine classes need the space the most. "Last semester we had a class where there were so many people on a machine that we had people standing in line to get to them," he said.
The waiting gave them half the time to learn and practice. “If we had a bigger space it would help out as far as being able to do your own thing," said Adams.
Instructor Brad Stufflestreet tells us these types of classes can't be taught in a traditional classroom and the more time they get with the machinery the better. "Machinery is one of the most important industries we have but it's faltering and is running out of qualified workers," he said.
He also says the new building will give students the chance to get more hands-on experience and learn the newer technologies.
Dr. Gilliam tells us she has big plans for the school and hopes it becomes a great recruiting tool for students and industries. "To come in and see the state-of-the-art facilities with state-of-the-art equipment, that's a drawing card for everyone," she said.
Dr. Gilliam hopes these improved programs will bring more industries to our area.
We also learned they hope to bring in six more programs of study with the new addition. The project will take up to three years to complete.