State and local officials broke ground today for construction of the new $16.9 million Bartlett Campus of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Memphis.
The campus is tentatively scheduled to open and begin training students in several high demand fields by Fall 2020.
Site preparation and construction of the new 48,792-square-foot building will begin soon at the 18-acre site at the northwestern corner of the Appling Road-Brother Boulevard intersection. The site was acquired and donated to the college by the City of Bartlett. The building will house several state-of-the-art classrooms, hands-on technology instructional labs, testing center, student lounge, conference and multipurpose rooms, and faculty offices.
The campus will serve up to 400 students annually, empowering graduates to begin or advance their careers in high-demand fields in the region. With Tennessee Promise, Tennessee Reconnect and other state and federal assistance, most students who don’t already have a college degree will be able to attend tuition-free.
The college plans to initially offer certificate and diploma programs at the Bartlett Campus in Machine Tool Technology focused on the medical device industry; Automotive Technology; Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC); Heavy Equipment Technology; Mechatronics, and Welding.
The program offerings have been planned through data-driven analysis of local workforce needs with assistance of business and industry in the region. The Greater Memphis Medical Device Council, Associated Equipment Distributors and other industry leaders are helping shape the curriculums related to their industries, TCAT Memphis President Roland Rayner said.
“The new facility will help TCAT Memphis expand its role as a premier center for workforce development and provider of career technical education in the Memphis and Shelby County area,” Rayner said. “We’re excited to begin construction of this long-awaited facility, we look forward to serving our students there, and we thank our partners and supporters who are making it possible.”
Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings said the Bartlett Campus will help achieve the state’s Drive to 55 initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans with a college degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025. “The campus will also help TCAT Memphis with its strategic plan to increase student access and completion, and the additional graduates will help meet the Memphis area’s demand for more highly skilled workers,” she said.
The college officials thanked state and local officials who supported the project, including U.S. District Court Judge Mark Norris, a former state senator; State Rep. Mark White; Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald, and others. Norris and White co-sponsored the landmark Labor Education Alignment Program (LEAP) in the General Assembly in 2013. LEAP works with educators and employers to identify and close skills gaps that hinder economic development of communities throughout the state. The college won a $4 million state LEAP grant to help fund the Bartlett project.
The Tennessee Board of Regents voted last year to name the new building the Haas CNC Technology Center, in recognition of the Haas Foundation’s support, including a $1 million donation toward the project. (CNC is computer numerical control technology, used extensively in manufacturing and part of the curriculum for some of the campus’ programs.)
In addition to the Haas Foundation and City of Bartlett contributions and the LEAP grant, the state legislature approved $11.5 million in state construction funding for the project.
The Bartlett Campus is TCAT Memphis’ 4th teaching site, in addition to its main campus at 550 Alabama Avenue in Downtown Memphis, its Aviation Extension Campus at 3435 Tchulahoma Road near the airport, and its Instructional Center at Bartlett High School.
The public technical college – part of the College System of Tennessee, governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents – currently offers 23 separate career and technical education programs, ranging from Aircraft Mechanics, Assistant Animal Lab Technician, Automotive Technology and Diesel Mechanics to Practical Nursing, Truck Driving and Welding. A complete list of program offerings is posted on TCAT Memphis’ website at https://tcatmemphis.edu/programs.
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.