PIE Center construction start set July 1

By AUTUMN HUGHES
Posted 1/21/20

Construction of the Partnerships in Industry and Education (PIE) Center is expected to begin July 1, but there are still plans to be made before it is open for the business of education.

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PIE Center construction start set July 1

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Construction of the Partnerships in Industry and Education (PIE) Center is expected to begin July 1, but there are still plans to be made before it is open for the business of education.

Goal Academy Principal and PIE Center manager Kyle Page recently presented the Bradley County Commission with photos and information of the ongoing work at the PIE Center, as well as artist’s renderings of how the building will look when completed.

Page said construction is planned to begin on July 1, with the groundbreaking in late May.

“We are working through the final renderings,” he said, adding they are also working with tenants on design of their spaces.

Page noted the school system is meeting with individual tenants about their needs on the site, and they will begin moving into tenant contracts in late March or early May.

Page said three tenants are working on their lease spaces ahead of the July 1 beginning of construction on both the warm dark shell and the building’s interior.

Commissioner Charlotte Peak asked for an estimate on the number of tenants that have committed to setting up shop at the PIE Center.

Page said there are nine “anchors” taking up most of the large space. As for the exterior section facing Parker Street N.E., he said they have been working on finding tenants for those.

Peak asked about the inclusion of skilled trades like HVAC, plumbing and electrical. Page said those are planned, as well as other skilled labor areas.

Commissioner Milan Blake said about a year ago he asked for a list of potential grants that could be applied for; he asked where the school system currently is in that process.

Bradley County Director of Schools Dr. Linda Cash said each grant has a cycle, so they apply at different points throughout the year.

“We have several out with the state,” she said, noting there are three that have been submitted, and three more to write and submit.

Page said Bradley County Schools is working with both Cleveland State Community College and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Athens on certification projects.

Commissioner Erica Davis said she is excited to hear the update, noting the Bradley County Board of Education raised questions about the gym space during its recent meeting.

Page said the concerns were about the corridor from the GOAL Academy to the “gymnatorium.” He said it is not a traditional gymnasium, but more of a convention center space.

“There’s a lot of different uses for that space,” he said.

Davis said she is glad they are figuring out a solution.

Page said it will be brought back before the school board, and also presented to the county commission.

Commissioner Bill Winters asked about competition for business in the PIE Center and public sectors.

Page said spaces in the PIE Center are being offered at market value, so as not to unfairly compete with the private sector.

“The purpose of the PIE Center is to get students ready for the workforce,” Page said, noting the tenant contracts include clauses that students will be hired into businesses coming into the PIE Center.

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