Higher ed center gets $1.5 million federal grant

Rick Wagner • Jun 13, 2008 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Kingsport will receive a $1.5 million federal grant for the Kingsport Center for Higher Education, U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and U.S. Rep. David Davis announced Friday.

The 50,000-square-foot center will be built on the site of the old Tire Center building at the corner of Clay and Market streets. Construction is expected to begin in July and be complete by fall 2009.

The federal grant money announced Friday will be provided by the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The higher education center will be managed by Northeast State Technical Community College, which will provide two years of instruction. King College, the University of Tennessee and Lincoln Memorial University are participating and will offer degree programs.

The center will be part of a larger “academic village” downtown that will include the Regional Center for Health Professions.

The center will be built in accordance with the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards for environmentally friendly and energy-efficient construction.

According to the EDA, the funding will aid in the creation of 714 jobs and help leverage $530 million in private investment.

“It’s important that we keep jobs like these here in America and keep them from going overseas,” Alexander said in a news release. “This funding will help build an important training center in Kingsport so that we can train high-tech workers in Kingsport and maintain competitiveness in East Tennessee.

“By creating over 700 jobs and bringing in private money, this grant will bring a much needed boost to the local economy. I’m glad to see this education center coming to Kingsport, and that it’s being built in a way that’s energy efficient and environmentally friendly.”

Corker said, “At a time when the competition for skilled labor is growing, this type of investment in Tennessee’s work force will help keep good, high-paying jobs right here in our state. This facility will not only benefit our state’s economy, but it will meet new standards for clean, energy-efficient construction, which will help our country become more energy secure.

“I thank the Department of Commerce for supporting economic development in Tennessee, and I will continue working with my colleagues in the Tennessee delegation to promote job creation policies.”

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