State Funds Community College Expansions in Metro Nashville

As part of its Drive to 55 program, the state of Tennessee will provide over $100 million in community college projects throughout the state, including $65.4 million to two Metro Nashville community colleges, announced Gov. Bill Haslam in his recent State of State address.

Columbia State Community College new campus rendering

As part of its Drive to 55 program, the state of Tennessee will provide over $100 million in community college projects throughout the state, including $65.4 million to two Metro Nashville community colleges, announced Gov. Bill Haslam in his recent State of the State address.

Columbia State Community College is set to receive $36.7 million in state capital investments, to fund the development of a brand new campus, which will rise on Liberty Pike in the booming Cool Springs submarket of Nashville. Columbia State has already received some state funding for its new campus: it acquired the 36-acre campus site with $6.5 million in state funding. An additional $1.7 million were also provided for architect and planning services. While the bulk of the money is being provided by the state, according to the Franklin Home Page, the community also has to chip in with $4 million or about 10 percent of the costs, as the development is a community college capital project. A silent fundraising is ongoing with a second one set to kick off after the summer 2014 groundbreaking of phase one.

The initial phase of the campus will accommodate 2,200 students, 40 percent more than Columbia State’s current capacity. It will consist of a student support and enrollment center, an arts and humanities building, a science, technology, engineering and mathematics facility and a tower. Future phases will include a health sciences and technology facility, wellness and student life center, economic and workforce development building, a baccalaureate and master’s university center, an academic and outreach/technology center as well as a fine arts center and theater, which will bring the student body to about 6,000 students.

Nashville-based Bauer Askew Architecture and Birmingham, Alabama-headquartered Hoar Construction have been contracted for the project. According to the Franklin Home Page, the current Columbia State campus will be redeveloped, but details on that have yet to be released.

Wallace South Health Sciences building riboncutting at Vol State

Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, TN will also receive $28.7 million to construct a new classroom building. Vol State recently inaugurated a $10 million state-of-the-art health sciences building.

The Drive to 55 program aims to boost the ranks of Tennesseans holding high-education degrees, as estimates show that in 11 years, 55 percent of the population will need a degree to be employable. Currently only 32 percent of the state’s population meets that criteria.

Images courtesy of Bauer Askew Architecture and Volunteer State Community College