Columbia State’s Proposed Southern Regional Technology Center Included in State’s Capital Projects Recommendations List

Rendering by Summerville Architecture of the proposed Southern Regional Technology Center at Columbia State Community College.

Columbia State Community College’s proposal in conjunction with TCAT Hohenwald and TCAT Pulaski for the development of the Southern Regional Technology Center recently made the Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s 2022-23 Capital Projects Recommendations list for General Priorities at number two.

When acquiring new buildings for higher education facilities, state appropriations fund capital outlay projects. Institutions must seek approval for these projects from the State Building Commission. Each year, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission list is submitted to the Governor and General Assembly for consideration.

This year’s General Priorities list covers ten projects that centralize economic development and community outreach. The Tennessee Board of Regents and Columbia State’s request for the Southern Regional Technology Center falls second on the list this year, meaning the possibility of a new building on the Columbia Campus—the first since the completion of the Waymon L. Hickman Building in 2001—is closer to becoming a reality.

“We don’t currently have a technology center in Maury County and with the number of new industries entering the region and the continual growth of the healthcare field, the need for a skilled workforce continues to grow,” said Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president. “This center will provide a collaborative environment for the colleges to provide career-entry associate degrees, certificates, and workforce development programs designed to meet both the current and future needs of our community.”

The proposed Southern Regional Technology Center, which will exist on the west side of the Columbia Campus, will be a hub for workforce development. The state-of-the-art facility will provide a central location in the region to meet the educational and training needs of citizens and employers. It will be a major economic and workforce development resource by providing the latest in industry and healthcare training with an emphasis on partnerships through internships, apprenticeships, program development and job placement.

Columbia State programs including EMS, engineering technology, medical lab technology, nursing, radiologic technology and respiratory care will move into the building that will be shared with the Hohenwald and Pulaski entities of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology. It is proposed that TCAT Hohenwald will house their automotive, nurse’s aide and practical nursing programs in the SRTC, while TCAT Pulaski may bring their HVAC, industrial maintenance, welding and CNC machining technology programs.

If the proposal is approved by the Governor and the General Assembly, funding for the construction of the SRTC would be included in the 2022-23 year budget. The building will be approximately 99,639 square feet and is expected to cost $50,212,000. Columbia State is required by the state to provide a community match for a portion of the funds. Due to overwhelming support in the community and region more than $1 million has already been given or pledged towards this effort.

The SRTC, which was first proposed in 2017, was ranked 13th on the THEC list in 2020.

To learn more about the Southern Regional Technology Center, contact Bethany Lay, Columbia State vice president for advancement and executive director of the Columbia State Foundation at 931-540-2512 or [email protected]