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 is located at 620 State Street, location of the former 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 is leasing 15,979 square-feet of third-floor space to house classrooms and offices. All classrooms will be equipped with multimedia facilities and wired for interactive television broadcasts to capture local and remote instruction.
The College is offering several mini-mester courses this spring and will announce summer classes at a later date. Initial enrollment is estimated at 100-200 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. We especially appreciate Allen Hurley’s support, through his leadership and funding to set up this great facility.”
Hurley complimented the spirit of cooperation exhibited by the City of Bristol and Northeast State saying he hopes the effort will further re-vitalize the downtown area, as well as spark similar endeavors.
“It’s great to see people on the same page and moving toward a common goal,” Hurley said. “This will make for a stronger downtown and a better quality of life for residents.”
The Northeast State at Bristol Advisory Board met Feb. 22 with Northeast State officials to discuss and tour the site which houses classroom and office space that melds features of the vintage building with modern construction. All classrooms will be equipped with multimedia facilities and wired for interactive television broadcasts to capture local and remote instruction.
“This is a great day for Bristol, a great day for Northeast State,” Hurley said. “Northeast State has made a name for itself with partnerships and this is just one more step. Everyone at the College is so willing to resolve issues, move forward, build things – that’s very admirable.”
For more information about the facility, contact Dr. Keith Young at 423.354.5237 or ckyoung@NortheastState.edu.