BRISTOL, Tenn. - Northeast State Community College has received approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents to bring higher education to downtown Bristol.
The college's new teaching site will be situated at 620 State Street, the location of the old H.P. King Building. J. Allen Hurley, president of Vision, LLC and former CEO of Touchstone Wireless, recently purchased the property from the city of Bristol and has proceeded with plans to make the facility a downtown attraction.
The facility will be known as City Central. The building has multiple-sized venues for events and the 620 State Restaurant & Venue is located on the first floor.
"This plan is a commitment to drive the growth of downtown Bristol and make higher education more convenient for area residents," said Hurley, a Northeast State alumnus. "The project has generated a lot of excitement as we seek to create a more prosperous downtown."
Northeast State will lease 15,979 square feet of third-floor space to house classrooms and offices.
The space is currently under renovation and the college will soon move forward with the installation of fixtures, equipment, and furniture. The college envisions having personnel on site by early March to provide information and answer questions.
Initial enrollment is estimated at 100 to 200 students.
Northeast State President Dr. Janice Gilliam said the college plans to offer two-year associate degrees, certificates, workforce development training, and GED/adult education at the site and is seeking partnerships with other area higher education institutions including Virginia Highlands Community College, King College, and East Tennessee State University.
Northeast State officials also are planning to offer an entertainment technology program that will mesh with Bristol's "Birthplace of Country Music" brand.
The program would focus on equipping students with sound, lighting, and rigging skills, which could be used in performances, hotels, churches, theaters, and other related venues.
"We are very excited to announce that 620 State Street is Northeast State's new teaching site in Bristol," said Dr. Gilliam. "We've been working on this project at the state and local level for two years and we are very appreciative of the support we've received from the Chamber, the City, and other state and local leaders."