Yager secures $25 million for joint higher education facility in Fentress County

NASHVILLE — Sen. Ken Yager (R-Kingston) announced the Tennessee General Assembly has approved $25 million for a new joint facility for Roane State Community College (RSCC) and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Oneida/Huntsville in Fentress County. The funding is included in the FY23 budget, adopted by the legislature last week. 

The appropriation will be used to build a permanent, 26,000-square-foot facility complete with Zoom enabled classrooms, a science lab and trade/technology programs.  

“This significant appropriation is fantastic news for Fentress County and the region. Funding a permanent facility for Roane State Community College has been a top priority of mine since 2019, and I’m thrilled that goal is now coming to fruition,” said Sen. Yager. “The new facility will provide much needed associates degrees, Licensed Practical Nurse and Certified Nursing Assistant certificates, as well as Automotive and Welding Technology certificates. It will allow our young adults to acquire the skills they need to land well-paying jobs. I want to thank Rep. Kelly Keisling (R-Byrdstown), Rep. John Mark Windle (I-Livingston), County Executive Jimmy Johnson and the County Commission for their strong support.” 

For 20 years, RSCC has served students in Fentress County, but has never had a permanent home. Currently, it is using a leased 8,000-square-foot storefront and also offers classes in local schools. The new facility will enable the college to offer expanded programs in Fentress County.  

“I’m very appreciative of what Sen. Yager has done for the people of Fentress County in getting this joint higher education facility. He along with Rep. Windle and Rep. Keisling have done another excellent job,” said Johnson. “The county has been waiting for this facility for several years, and we can’t say enough about what this means to Fentress County for adult education and also for our kids to stay here in the county and get their education here rather than travel outside the county like they have done past several years.” 

In a multi-year effort to secure these funds, Senator Yager has met with many state officials and wrote to Governor Lee in October of 2021 requesting the funds.   

 “We are continuously looking for ways to better serve the people and needs of Fentress County, so we couldn’t be happier to see this joint project move forward,” RSCC President Chris Whaley said. “We are tremendously grateful to all of our partners in this effort, including Sen. Yager and our friends at TCAT Oneida/Huntsville. Working together allows us to succeed in our mission of transforming lives through higher education.” 

Local leaders are optimistic about the future economy of Fentress County that these new educational opportunities will offer. 

“The Tennessee College of Applied Technology Oneida/Huntsville is excited to partner with Roane State 

Community College in a new higher education facility in Fentress County,” TCAT Oneida/Huntsville President Dwight Murphy added. “This will allow TCAT Oneida/ Huntsville to offer technical education in the Allied Health Fields, Automotive Fields, and Manufacturing Fields. We want to thank Governor Bill Lee, Senator Ken Yager, Representative John Mark Windle, Representative Kelly Keisling and County Executive Jimmy Johnson for their leadership. This facility will expand and enhance educational opportunities to Fentress Countians.” 

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