Pellissippi State already $4.2 million toward $6 million goal

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By Lance Coleman
Senior reporter
Blount Today

The race to raise $6 million for equipping Pellissippi State Community College for the 21st Century isn’t over by any stretch, but $4.2 million isn’t a bad head start.

A crowd of friends, supporters and alum came to Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley campus Tuesday morning to hear the announcement of the "Connecting Communities - Changing Lives" campaign.

During the kick-off campaign, president Allen Edwards announced that $4.2 million of a $6 million goal has been raised.

According to Les Fout with Pellissippi State, the needs for the Blount County campus are about $2 million. About half a million of the total has been raised to date. The monies are needed to equip the new building the state is expected to approve for the Blount campus. The governor’s budget has $17 million earmarked for the Blount building, wherever they decide to put it, Fout said. "We need over $2 million," for equipment at the new Blount campus, according to Fout.

Chairs for the fund raising for the Blount campus are Peggy McCord and Steve West. The West family has already donated funds for the Blount campus, as did Denso Corp., who got involved in the early campaign and donated close to $200,000 for equipment, technology and scholarships.. "Each of us has a role play, whether large or small," said David Wooley during the presentation. Wooley is chair of the 2007-2008 Foundation, Board of Trustees. "A donation it is considered a success for Pellissippi State," he said.

In a press release, Steve West said that serving 20 years on the Economic Development Board taught him the importance of Pellissippi State, not only to recruiting new industry but also to keeping young people in the area by preparing them for the workforce. West said he looked forward to when a new campus would be built on an as yet unspecified campus from where it is now.

"The new campus in Blount County will retain the good instruction and quality personnel, but it will also add a ‘wow’ facto that will inspire students, the staff and the community," he said.

In her comments at the announcement ceremony, Peggy McCord encouraged everyone to get to work. Referring to the Blount County campus, which is currently in the former Bungalow School, McCord said, "It’s a 60-year-old school the county didn’t even want. The governor has put back (into his budget) $17 million. We have to furnish everything else," she said. "We’ll have to work with everybody to get everything these kids need."

Fout said there are about 1,380 students from Blount County who go to Pellissippi. About half attend the Blount County campus.

Robin Wilhoit of Channel 10 WBIR said $6 million isn’t a frivolous goal. "We looked at what we needed," she said. "We can light a lot of lives."

Allen Edwards, president of Pellissippi State, said this year the college saw a record enrollment. The campaign outlined five goals that can be met with the $6 million in funds, including equipping the Blount campus, funding the nursing program,
academic and student enrichment, equipping the Bagwell Center for Media and Arts and an endowment fund.

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