BY KEN LITTLE
The Tusculum Planning Commission received an update Tuesday night about the planned major building expansion project on the Tusculum College campus.
The planning commission approved four subdivision plots connected to the project. Approval for the project itself will come in the future, commission Chairman Robert Bird said.
Construction work on the first phase of the multi-million-dollar project could begin as soon as the summer of 2013, architect John Fisher told commission members.
The work at Tusculum College is made possible through a $39 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Community Facilities loan for the renovation of current space and construction of a new science and math building at the college, it was announced in September.
Fisher, the architect on the project, told commissioners the work to be done at Tusculum College is "very exciting."
"It looks like there is another wave coming at Tusculum College of really exciting opportunities," said Fisher, of John Fisher + Associates in Greeneville.
SCIENCE BUILDING NEEDED
A new science building has long been needed on campus, Fisher said.
It will be located along the Erwin Highway (Tennessee Rt. 107), next to the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts building, where campus housing and the building housing the college band currently stand.
As part of the project, he said the existing science building, Treadway Hall, will be renovated for use as a classroom building.
The project also includes the construction of two new student housing buildings similar in size and style to the four existing residential halls.
MOVING ONE ENTRANCE
The work will involve moving one entrance to the college on Erwin Highway, tearing down several houses, and using some campus parking space to build on, Fisher said.
The college is currently at the "programming" stage with the new $15 million science building, prior to detailed plans being drawn up. If everything falls into place, work could begin on the science center "possibly next summer," Fisher said.
Fisher said the state Fire Marshal's Office has been given a set of "working drawings" showing details of the college expansion, and Tusculum expects to hear back from the Fire Marshal's Office soon.
"We would like to start this construction as soon as possible," he said.
Randy C. Davenport, of the Vaughn & Melton consulting engineers firm, also showed planning commission members plans for the new buildings, and explained in detail where requested subdivisions are needed on campus.
Davenport said he has received assurances from the Greeneville Water Commission that sewer service will be provided for any new buildings on campus.
A 'SIGNIFICANT' PROJECT
"This is a significant project," Fisher said. "It obviously will bring jobs to the community."
"The request tonight would be for the sudvivision of land," planner Cherith Marshall said.
"This is the subdivision plot approval, not the (project) approval," Bird added. "We will anticipate you coming back when you have your plans complete."
Bird said after the meeting that the Tusculum College expansion project will be beneficial for both the college and the city.
"It has the potential for improving the educational system here and drawing more students to Tusculum, and if you draw more students to Tusculum, it's actually a benefit to [the city]," Bird said.
The expansion will mean local construction jobs and more money spent in town.
"That's the immediate positive effect," Bird said.
"Outside construction will benefit area hotels and restaurants, so it's a positive thing."
In other business, the planning commission approved re-division of the David Albert property on Greenwood Road.
Albert, who was at the meeting, said right-of-way of the previously subdivided land needs to be slightly altered to allow for the construction of a house.
The approval given by the planning commission is contingent upon Albert's getting signed approvals from Greeneville Light & Power System, the City of Tusculum, street officials, Greene County 911, and several other entities.
In other action, planning commission members reviewed sample ordinances regarding the placement of key lock boxes on the exteriors of certain structures in the city.
Commission members will review the ordinances.
A committee that includes city Building Inspector, Tusculum firefighter and Vice Mayor Alan Corley and Mayor John Foster will be formed to review technical questions about key lock box installations, Bird said. [IS ALAN CORLEY THE BUILDING INSPECTOR AS WELL AS HIS OTHER ROLES, SO THAT THE COMMITTEE CONSISTS OF TWO PEOPLE? THAT'S THE WAY IT SOUNDS. IF THE BUILDING INSPECTOR IS A DIFFERENT PERSON, THAT NEEDS TO BE MADE CLEAR AND THE PERSON NAMED.]
Keeping key lock boxes on the exterior of structures will aid the Tusculum Volunteer Fire Department "in gaining access to the structure when responding to calls for emergency service," one of the sample ordinances reads.