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Weekend edition July 05, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Roane State celebrates placement of final steel beam for its new Knox Regional Health Science Education Center

The $75 million, 130,000 square foot space will be shared with the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) – Knoxville.

Officials with Roane State Community College and its Roane State Foundation commemorated a major milestone earlier this week in the construction of the college’s new Knox Regional Health Science Education Center located across Sherrill Boulevard from Parkwest Medical Center.

On 10 acres of land donated by Covenant Health, construction crews hoisted the final piece of steel for the facility’s frame and secured it into place. The “topping out” ceremony is a symbolic event that celebrates a major milestone in a construction project. In the case of the new building, Roane State will expand from its existing facility that totals slightly more than 16,000 square feet into a $75 million, 130,000 square foot space.

The State of Tennessee provided $68.5 million in an appropriation with the Roane State Foundation agreeing to raise a matching amount of $7.5 million. About $2 million of that amount has been raised, and several of the individual and corporate donors attended the ceremony. Those in attendance were invited to sign the steel beam before it was hoisted to its position at the top of the structure.

The ground floor of the new building, which is projected to be completed in time for fall semester 2025, will include a state-of-the-art, 11,000 square foot simulation center. Roane State notes that these facilities are generally found at four-year universities. There are only two such centers at community colleges in the Southeast, and the one in West Knoxville will be the state’s first fully integrated simulation center.

Chris Whaley, Roane State President, was overseas on a vacation, so Scott Niermann, Executive Director of the Foundation, presided at the event.

“To have a thriving community, you have to have a thriving healthcare system,” he said, later adding, “Those who have (their) health have hope.”

Roane State describes itself as “East Tennessee’s regional healthcare workforce provider,” currently offering 19 degree and certificate programs. With the new facility, the college will add another eight credit programs. Those programs include Cardiovascular Technology, Electroneurodiagnostic Technology, Healthcare Administration, Medical Equipment Maintenance, Medical Lab Technology, Public Health, Sterile Processing, and Ultrasound/Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

The other occupant of the building will be the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) – Knoxville which, like Roane State, has no expansion possibilities at its existing facility on Liberty Street. TCAT – Knoxville offers seven healthcare-related programs.

An estimated 8,000 students are expected to be trained when the new building opens.

Architectural Rendering

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