Saturday, April 13, 2024
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State Clears The Way For Fentress Higher Education Center

Fentress County Executive Jimmy Johnson said funding has been cleared for the early design phase of a new Higher Education Center.

The 49,000-square-foot facility will be shared by Roane State and TCAT. It will be located on a 33-acre site on Old Highway 127 South just outside the Jamestown city limits. Johnson said he was waiting on the State Building Commission to release the $25 million in funding and to approve the early design plans.

“The County Commission voted to just give them the 33 acres, and so it’s went from there,” Johnson said. “So, they have control of the 33 acres of land that we purchased here in Fentress County, and we gave that to them, and that’s how we got this far. You know, one hand helps another one.”

Work is expected to begin in the spring of 2024. The goal is to be able to hold classes in the center in the fall of 2025.

“We’re very tickled,” Johnson said. “We’re very blessed. Give God the glory, because that here is unusual for us to get something that’s this huge.”

Students will be able to receive associates degrees in manufacturing, construction, welding, automotive and diesel and health sciences at the center.

“Hopefully, we’ll retain students in Fentress County instead of having to leave town to go some place,” Johnson said. “Retainment is a big interest for us in Fentress County, because most of the time when your children leave out of the county to get an education they very seldom get to come back.”

TCAT and Roane state already work with the high school for students to obtain dual credits. Johnson said this will increase those opportunities for students to get even more college experience before graduating high school.

“You’ll be able to get a two-year associates degree here in Fentress County,” Johnson said. “It’s just one of those things we’re just blessed with. It’ll be an economic insert also into the county and also into the city of Jamestown. We’re very pleased to be able to help them with their economy.”

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