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By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Construction is expected to begin soon at Hartsville’s Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) to expand vocational offerings for local students.

“Excited would be an understatement,” said Hartsville TCAT President Mae Wright. “The magnitude of this renovation has not happened here. This is going to be major – a complete additional wing.”

Concept plan for expansion at Hartsville TCAT, which will add a wing on the eastern end of the building.

Once completed, additions will include a new training area for the nursing/medical technician programs, a new computer lab and testing area for that program, and expanded class space for the automotive, mechatronics and machine tool programs.

“In this renovation, we’ll have a larger space to hold seminars,” Wright added. “That’s big for us.”

Wright said the wet weather has delayed the start of construction but that work should begin soon. She said construction should be completed by the end of 2020.

The funding for the expansion came through the state’s capital outlay process, with virtually all of Tennessee’s TCAT facilities slated to receive upgrades.

“It’s part of the master plan,” Wright said. “It’s going to be disruptive for a little while, but in the long haul our students will appreciate it.”

Wright said the extra class space would allow for additional students to take advantage of the various training programs offered by Hartsville TCAT.

“Our nursing area is so crowded right now, and our labs are compacted right now,” she said. “This is going to open up a lot more space.”

Wright said Hartsville’s TCAT campus is also preparing proposals for funding under Gov. Bill Lee’s GIVE Act (Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education), which was announced earlier this year, to expand operations both at the main campus and at satellite facilities.

The application process for the first round of GIVE grants is now underway and we will be applying for grants for other projects to serve our students and the residents of our area. The first round of grants will be announced this fall. We are deeply appreciative of Gov. Lee’s commitment to Career and Technical Education and to the rural economy, and we look forward to the great things that the GIVE Act will accomplish,” Wright said.

TCAT is also preparing to launch evening classes in the welding and machine tool programs in September. Both those will be held at the Lebanon campus from 4-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.