By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
Cleveland State Community College is one step closer to being able to construct a new building on its 50-year-old campus. The college made a $25 million capital funds request to state officials …
Cleveland State Community College is one step closer to being able to construct a new building on its 50-year-old campus.
The college made a $25 million capital funds request to state officials in advance of the 2018 budget season. College officials just learned their request is No. 3 on the Tennessee Higher Education Commission's list of budget requests for next year.
"We are very excited about this possibility," said CSCC President Dr. Bill Seymour. "At this point, we have a high probability of success in securing this funding."
THEC is requesting about $371 million in capital outlay funding for the 2018-19 year. Cleveland State's request is No. 3 on the list of capital outlay requests, trailing requests by Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee Agricultural Institute.
The commission is sending its requests to the state's Department of Finance and Administration, which is expected to add them to the budget which will be proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam. This budget will then be presented to state legislators for their votes.
Seymour said it was a really pleasant surprise for Cleveland State to be ranked No. 3 on THEC's list. The college had been ranked No. 3 on the list of budget requests from the Tennessee Board of Regents, which governs the state's community colleges. However, recent changes in how THEC prioritizes its capital outlay requests placed Cleveland State near the top of its list as well.
"We are now the highest-priority project for the TBR," Seymour said. "I think that is very significant."
If state legislators approve a budget which includes Cleveland State's $25 million share, the local college will have to provide a 10 percent match. However, Seymour pointed out it is much easier to raise $2.5 million than $25 million.
If approved, the state funding would cover the cost of a new 60,000-square-foot Health and Sciences Building, which would house classes for Cleveland State's medical and science-related programs.
Seymour said careers in the medical field are in high demand, and the college is long overdue for new science lab spaces. He added having this new space would allow the college to add new academic programs, such as physical therapy and occupational therapy.
This state funding would also help cover several renovations on campus, the most major of which would take place in the college's Humanities Building. This, too, would provide space to expand the college's academic offerings.
Seymour said these renovations would help provide students with "state-of-the-art facilities" and also help cut down on maintenance costs.
"Really, this would touch every student in some form or fashion," Seymour said. "This will make a major impact on our campus in terms of functionality and aesthetics. This is a significant step for us."
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