BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
Site preparation for Walters State Community College's new Greeneville-Greene County Enhancement project will begin in the next two months, leading the way for what will be a large new campus that can feature additional programming.
Dr. Lori Campbell, vice president of Academic Affairs, provided this update during Tuesday morning's Greene County Partnership Breakfast at the General Morgan Inn.
Walters State sponsored the breakfast, highlighting the morning with Campbell's announcement of the new programming, including:
* a new Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational Therapist Assistant (OTA);
* an expanded Associate of Applied Science degree in Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA);
* a new allied health degree program and an embedded certificate in allied health support;
* an expanded Associate of Applied Science degree in Fire Science;
* an expanded Regional Law Enforcement Academy to train more cadets; and,
* an expanded Associate of Arts degree in Art.
"The site preparation and construction phase for this building are expected to begin within the next two months," Campbell said. "We are very excited to make that announcement!"
According to an information booklet provided at the breakfast, the $20 million project was able to get under way through a $9 million state grant.
Campbell thanked Scott Niswonger, for providing the required 15 percent match in local funds toward the grant, and state Rep. David Hawk, R-5th, of Greeneville, for supporting legislation for such grants.
The enhancement plan will include additional space within an 84,000-square-foot building for new labs, classrooms, and student support areas, according to the document.
The expansion is just in time, said Drucilla Miller, dean of the local campus.
Miller announced that enrollment at the local campus continues to grow. Registration ends Aug. 29, but enrollment is already up by 15 percent from last year, she said.
There were 1,100 students on the Greeneville campus in fall 2011, she added.
"All of us understand increasing access to higher education is extremely important," Miller noted.
"Walters State's focus is in increasing retention and degree completion. This focus, in turn, means that the more students that complete degrees, the more educated and well-trained workforce Walters State will be able to supply Greene County."
The growth in Greeneville's enrollment is the largest at any of Walters State's four campuses, Campbell said.