By Carole Robinson
It started as a dream almost 15-years ago under the leadership of then Columbia State Community College president Dr. Rebecca Hawkins and continued when Dr. Janet Smith became president.
The dream was for a new campus and multi-faceted facility for students attending CSCC in Franklin.
|Reps. Jeremy Durham and Charles Sargent, Columbia State President Dr. Janet Smith and Franklin Mayor Dr. Ken Moore do a little Happy Dance in honor of Gov. Haslam’s announcement that he was including funds for a new Columbia State campus in the budget. Carole Robinson
On Tuesday, nearly 14 years after CSCC officials submitted a plan requesting a new Franklin campus, everyone involved was elated to learn the campus dream is about to come true.
Monday night Gov. Bill Haslam announced in his State of the State report to the General Assembly the inclusion of $36.7 million in his 2014-15 budget, the amount needed to begin construction.
Although the request for a new campus has always been a team effort, it was Rep. Charles Sargent, who “carried the water for 10 years and fought the long, hard fight,” to make the dream come true, said Rep. Glen Casada.
“It’s been a long journey,” said County Mayor Rogers Anderson.
Columbia State, established in 1966, is Tennessee’s first community college.
It encompasses five campuses, serving a nine-county area of Middle Tennessee.
Classes began at the Franklin campus in 1971 and were held in local churches, banks, schools and the police department before finding permanent home in 1985—a building in Independence Square now used by AT&T.
Four years later in 1989, the college moved to the current location in the W.C. Yates complex, originally constructed in 1975 to house the vocational and technology program for county high school students.
Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, the two-year college has grown to more than 1,300 students locally this year.
“I remember 12 to 15 years ago, promoting the Center for Higher Education,” Anderson added.
That was the beginning of a fundraising campaign, which raised money for the 10 percent community match for a state funded partnership. It was required for any state community college wishing to move up on the project list of state building priorities.
During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Smith laid out plans for the campus.
Phase One, she said, will include creating the campus’ physical character, beginning with its first three buildings and a quad.
Renderings portray three simple brick buildings with plenty of windows and a bell tower partially enclosing a grassy open area.
The Arts & Humanities Building will house the film tech program, a sound stage, an editing and a songwriting lab, the commercial entertainment studio and several classrooms.
In the Science Building there are classrooms and labs for engineering studies, chemistry, physiology, biology, an IT center and a state-of-the-art nursing SEM center, which will allow nursing students to develop skills by practicing on mechanical mannequins.
“The IT center is very much needed in this community,” Smith said, adding the college has worked closely with area businesses and corporations to develop a curriculum that will ready students for the fast-changing world.
A student center and administrative offices will be situated in the third building, as well as training classrooms and a third floor library reading room and group study areas.
The 36-acre property, located off Liberty Pike, was purchased in December 2011, and in the summer of 2012 the State Building Committee selected the architectural firm Bauer Askew Architecture to design building plans.
The plans were approved in June 2013 and the posting of a “Request For Proposal” was authorized.
Hoar Construction was awarded the contract for construction manager/general contractor last August.
Once the appropriations are finalized, site prep will begin in May and construction in July.
“Our intent is to move in by Spring 2016,” Smith said.
Posted on: 2/6/2014