Roane State Community College & TCAT Knoxville break ground on Knox Regional Health Science Education Center

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Roane State Community College
Architectural rendering of Knox Regional Health Education Center

Roane State Community College and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Knoxville broke ground on the new Knox Regional Health Science Education Center during a joint celebration on August 1, 2023.

The 130,000-square-foot facility will be located on the newly named Covenant Health Campus at 9575 Sherrill Boulevard in Knoxville. It will replace Roane State’s current Knox County Center for Health Sciences on Hayfield Road. Construction is now set to begin later this summer. The project’s preliminary timeline has the Knox Regional Health Science Education Center set to open for students in the fall of 2025.

“It has taken a tremendous amount of effort, time, and collaboration to get us to this groundbreaking,” Roane State President Chris Whaley said to the crowd. “So many people have helped us along the way and this campus would not be here without each one of you. We are also excited to grow our partnership with TCAT Knoxville as we pursue our mutual mission of educating the healthcare workforce of tomorrow.”

Current Roane State programs to be housed in the new center include nursing, emergency medical services (EMS), polysomnography, and respiratory therapy, with the college planning to add new programs such as cardiovascular technology, healthcare administration, and public health.

TCAT Knoxville’s health science programs will be offered under the same roof, including dental assisting, phlebotomy, and surgical technology.

The first level of the new building will accommodate spaces shared by Roane State and TCAT Knoxville, such as student services, continuing education, adjunct faculty offices, and a more than 10,000-square-foot simulation center.

The simulation center will include an emergency department, ambulance bay, and electronic medical record workstation as well as operating, ICU, medication, and decontamination rooms. Multipurpose rooms that can be set up as an apartment, exam room or surgical suite will help immerse students in real-world scenarios that elevate their training and sharpen skills.

“Roane State Foundation board members and many additional supporters have been at the forefront of communicating the important role this new facility will play in the life of the college, and most importantly, the students and community we serve,” said Roane State Foundation Executive Director Scott Niermann. “We are currently in the major gifts stage of campaign fundraising, meeting with area leaders, philanthropists, and friends of Roane State to share more information about this project and how they might invest in this worthy cause. We welcome the support of citizens across the region who value a healthy, thriving community.”

Interested supporters can learn more about getting involved with the fundraising effort or making a contribution at

Explore the new center, including a gallery of architectural images, here:

Project Background:

Governor Bill Lee’s 2022-23 state budget proposal included $67,500,000 in state funding for the Knox Regional Health Science Education Center, which was subsequently approved by the Tennessee General Assembly.

The total estimated dollar amount for the project is $75,000,000, which includes previous funding of $1,000,000 appropriated in fiscal year 2021-22 for the preliminary design phase.

Roane State needs at least $7,500,000 in private philanthropy to complete the project and sustain funding for the students who will attend. The college’s non-profit Roane State Foundation is kicking off a capital fundraising campaign to meet that goal.

Most recently, Covenant Health was recognized for its record-breaking gift of land across from Parkwest Medical Center where the new facility will be built. The 10-acre parcel is the largest single gift in Roane State history.

Additional details on the fundraising efforts are forthcoming from Roane State Foundation. 

BarberMcMurry Architects, LLC, was approved as the designer on the project in July of 2021. The design consultant for the simulation center is Lavallee Brensinger Architects. The general contractor on the project is Johnson & Galyon, Inc.