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Groundbreaking For New Fentress Higher Ed Campus

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Groundbreaking For New Fentress Higher Ed Campus

Jamestown and Fentress County celebrated the ground breaking Friday for the new TCAT/Roane State Higher Education facility set to be built just off old Highway 127.

At least 700 students will be served annually at the 49,000 square foot facility. Governor Bill Lee earmarked $25 million toward the project in 2022 which will feature classes in nursing, construction, manufacturing and other areas. Senator Ken Yager said the vision for this partnership of two different educational entities began inside the community.

“It started at that luncheon four years ago, where the community leaders and I, we sat down and talked this through and came up with the framework,” Yager said. “I want to thank Governor Bill Lee for listening. He is the one that recommended putting the money in the budget. Without his help, we wouldn’t be here.”

Yager credited County Executive Jimmy Johnson for visionary leadership to bring community partners to the table. Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Tydings said the partnership between TCAT Oneida/Huntsville and Roane State represents a new era in educating young people.

“This campus will be big enough for future expansion,” Tydings said. “I hope that we are here maybe in two more Decembers, breaking ground on our next building. The joint use of this building saves us all money. It saves taxpayers money, it saves students money, and a multi-use building is our mission.”

Roane State President Dr. Chris Waley said Friday’s event marks just the start of what can be a life-changing event for the young people of the county, giving young people the chance to grow their skills, build a career and stay at home.

“This occasion that brings us today, the tremendous effort that it has taken to get to this point, the collaboration that it has taken to get to this ceremony, representing this brand new story of this journey toward progress and growth for all the citizens of this wonderful county,” Waley said. “And folks, we are just beginning. Today marks only the beginning.”

Congressman John Rose said for two long smaller communities have watched their most important resources, their people, leave for training and learning. That does not have to happen now.

Jamestown Mayor Harvey Stowers joked that he was the only one in the county who got the news of the facility and had to foot the bill. Jamestown will extend sewer facilities to the new campus.

“I’m glad that they picked these little counties, and it’s not political,” Stowers said. “If it had been, it would’ve went to Knoxville, Nashville, where all the votes is. They usually get everything.”

Clearing of the land will be next. Construction should be complete by late 2025.


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