Cleveland State Community College is celebrating the opening of the first new building on its main campus in more than 40 years – the new Health & Science Center.
Gov. Bill Lee, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings and other state and local leaders joined President Bill Seymour, students and other college representatives for a grand opening ceremony March 5. Classes will start in the new 54,000-square-feet facility March 15.
The Health & Science Center houses nursing, emergency medical services (EMS), medical assisting, and biology classes. It contains classrooms, laboratories, faculty offices, multi-function spaces for meetings and events, building support spaces and a two-story lobby.
Its exterior design takes cues from mid-century buildings on the campus while incorporating modern and regional design elements like brick, metal panels, stone and wood accents, said Charles V. Griffin, president and CEO of BarberMcMurry Architects, the building’s design firm.
The new building is part of a $25 million project that also includes major renovations to Cleveland State's existing Mary T. Barker Humanities Building, scheduled for completion by mid-summer. The project was funded with $22.5 million in state appropriations and nearly $3 million in gifts and local funding.
Chancellor Tydings thanked everyone who made the project possible.
“It’s a spectacular, beautiful building,” Gov. Lee said during the ceremony. “I appreciate the leadership from this community that has all come together – trustees and donors and civic leaders and educators and funders and private-public partnerships that came together – all for the purpose of changing people’s lives by giving them a skill and a pathway and a career that is valuable and needed and transformational, not just for the people whose lives will be changed because they will be educated in this building but for those whose lives will be changed because of the skills that they acquire and take out into the community.”
Underscoring that point, three students who spoke at the ceremony are in the EMS, paramedic and medical assisting programs and already have jobs serving the health needs of the area or plan to.
“We are thrilled at the experiential teaching opportunities we will be able to offer in our state-of-the-art laboratories,” said Dr. Barsha Pickell, the college’s vice president for academic affairs. The lab spaces in this building are not just extraordinary because they house some pretty amazing equipment and instruments, though they are very, very impressive. This building stands out because it was designed purposely to give our allied health students the closest thing we can to real-life experience and enable our science faculty and students to share ideas, solve problems and ask new questions in their research.”
The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.