A $6 million Community Facilities direct loan to allow for construction of two new apartment-style residence halls on the Greeneville campus of Tusculum College was announced on Thursday by U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and Tusculum College officials.
"Families in Northeast Tennessee should grow up with the same opportunities they would have living anywhere else," said Bobby Goode, USDA Rural Development state director, in a news release.
between Rural Development and Tusculum College provides those educational opportunities," he
continued, "and makes it possible for our students to get the best education possible so they can
out-compete others across the globe," Goode said.
The details of the loan agreement were announced at a document-signing and announcement of the partnership between Tusculum College and Rural Development. The interest rate on the $6 million loan is fixed at 3.125 percent.
Construction is set to begin "in the next few weeks," college officials said.
Tusculum College President Dr. Nancy B. Moody said in a news release that the low-interest-rate Community Facilities direct loan from USDA will make the new construction a sound long-term financial investment for the college, while meeting a priority need for the college.
"This has been a pressing need for the college for the past few years, as we have had to be creative with student housing and over 100 percent occupancy rates," Dr. Moody said.
"With record on-campus living numbers, we have utilized every resource available to us, including increasing the occupancy in existing residence halls and utilizing off-campus housing.
"These new residence halls will provide additional on-campus housing to accommodate the many students who want to live on campus," Moody added.
READY BY AUGUST
The residence halls are expected to be ready for occupancy by August and will accommodate 120 students.
Local architect John Fisher is the designer, and Burleson Construction is the general contractor on the project.
"As Tusculum College continues to grow, we will continue to seek partnerships like this one with USDA Rural Development to keep up with the demands of a vibrant and growing student population," Dr. Moody said.
The construction of the residence halls is part of a major college project that also includes renovation of current space and construction of a new science and math building.
Tusculum College "is a key economic driver for Greene County and the Northeast Tennessee region," Tammye Trevino, USDA Rural Development administrator, said last September when the partnership between the college and the USDA was announced.
A $39 million Community Facilities direct loan for the renovation of current space and construction of a new science and math building at Tusculum College was announced at the time by Trevino. The loan amount for the new residence buildings is part of that package.
The science and math building is still in the planning stages, college officials said.
The planned three-story, 50,000-square-foot facility is named after two major benefactors of the college. It will be called the Ronald H. and Verna June Meen Center for Science and Math.
The USDA loan also includes funds for renovations to 82-year-old Treadway Science Building, other improvements on campus, and expenses associated with refinancing.
Moody recently said that the lower-interest-rate USDA loan will significantly reduce what Tusculum College pays in debt service, making the new construction and renovation possible while also improving the college's overall finances.
The cost of the science and math building was estimated in July to be about $15.5 million, including a $3.875 million gift from Verna Meen.
About 2,100 students are enrolled on the main campus of Tusculum College in Greeneville and three off-site locations in other areas of East Tennessee.
The academic programs for both traditional-aged students and working adults served through the Graduate and Professional Studies program are delivered using focused calendars, whereby students enroll in one course at a time.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, community development, homeownership and affordable rental housing to improve the economic health and increase opportunities in rural communities.
Over the last four years, the federal agency has assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 158 communities, investing more than $3.3 billion into local economies through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in Northeast Tennessee, please contact the Rural Development Area Office in Greeneville at (423) 638-4771, ext. 4, or toll-free at (800) 342-3149 ext. 1490.
For information online, visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn