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Motlow State Community College
P.O. Box 8500
Lynchburg, TN 37352-8500
(931) 393-1500

Motlow Breaks Ground on Smyrna Center Expansion

June 6, 2012

Breaking Ground

Several friends of Motlow State Community College participated in the June 5 ceremonial groundbreaking for a new classroom building at the Smyrna campus. Pictured, from left, are former Smyrna Mayor Bob Spivey; Motlow President MaryLou Apple; Christy Houston Foundation President Bob Mifflin; Messer Construction representative Jay Hosay; MTSU President Sidney McPhee; Smyrna Mayor Tony Dover; Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess; TBR Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges Warren Nichols; TBR Regent Fran Marcum; State Senator Jim Tracy; Rutherford County Industrial Board member Bill Jones; Messer Construction representative Chris Steigerwald; Motlow Smyrna Center Director Cheryl Hyland; and Thomas Miller and Partners representative Don Miller.

Over 100 guests gathered as Motlow College broke ground June 5 on its much anticipated Smyrna Center Expansion. The new classroom building will allow the Smyrna Center to offer more classes and provide greatly needed student space as enrollment continues to grow. The 35,000-square-foot, two-story building will provide additional classrooms, labs, faculty and staff offices, and a student lounge.

Motlow President MaryLou Apple welcomed guests and shared a brief historical perspective of the Smyrna Center. Classes were first offered in Rutherford County in 1998 at Riverdale High School and then relocated to the Smyrna National Guard Armory in 2000. The current building is on land donated by the Town of Smyrna. It opened for classes in 2006 and reached maximum capacity within a year.

Enrollment growth in Rutherford County has been tremendous - from 159 students taking evening classes at Riverdale High School in 1998 to more than 2,000 students taking classes during the past spring semester at the Smyrna campus. Classes are offered seven days a week to accommodate student needs.

Apple stressed the importance of Motlow's partnerships with city, county and state officials, local organizations, area businesses and industries, and four-year universities.

"An educated society is directly related to a healthy economy," she added. "Having an educated society, you have a needed workforce and that helps attract new businesses and helps our existing businesses grow and nurture."

She recognized and personally thanked the Town of Smyrna, the Rutherford County Commission, the Christy Houston Foundation and the Rutherford County Industrial Development Board who stepped up to support the project during a tough market for fundraising. Smyrna once again led the way and donated the land for the second building.

In attendance and speaking at the ceremony were Smyrna Mayor Tony Dover; Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess; former Smyrna Mayor Bob Spivey; Dr. Warren Nichols, Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges; Bob Mifflin, president of Christy Houston Foundation; State Senator Jim Tracy; and Dr. Sidney McPhee, president of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU).

Dover praised Dr. Apple as "Motlow's tireless champion" for her work and leadership to reach the milestone of breaking ground on the new building and making the dream a reality. He added, "This project is also a great example of vision and partnerships coming together."

"We owe this to the vision and leadership and wisdom that have been gained by so many people," said Burgess. On behalf on the citizens of Rutherford County and the Commission, he pledged to continue to support the efforts to help individuals and families develop and achieve their life goals.

Spivey was instrumental in bringing Motlow to Smyrna. He also praised the leadership of President Apple and urged everyone to support the large number of high school graduates in the region as they prepare for a career and formal education.

On behalf of TBR, Dr. Nichols extended congratulations and success to the community and everyone involved in making this project happen. He noted that community colleges serve over 97,000 students in the state of Tennessee, impacting workforce education, employment opportunities and quality of life.

The Christy Houston Foundation has been a very active supporter of the Motlow Smyrna Center in meeting the need for healthcare education. Mifflin praised the collaboration and relationship between Motlow and MTSU saying, "You have done what is good for Rutherford County and we are so pleased to be a part of it."

Senator Tracy recognized former Motlow presidents in attendance, Dr. Sam Ingram, Dr. Frank Glass and Dr. Art Walker, as well as other former and current state officials for their leadership in improving higher education.

"We know if we improve the education of our children in this state, we are going to improve the quality of life," Tracy said. "When you improve quality of life, you are going to have jobs available. We are all working for the same cause - to improve the quality of education in Tennessee."

MTSU President McPhee echoed the wonderful partnership and continued support between Motlow and MTSU. Motlow is the lead feeder college for MTSU. McPhee said, "I will continue to be a great supporter. I think this is going to be a wonderful opportunity to expand the educational programs for students in this region."

In closing, Dr. Apple recognized numerous other individuals, officials and organizations for their support of Motlow and the Smyrna expansion. She concluded, "Thank you so very much for this day and I want to invite you all back a year from now to the open house."

The project is scheduled to be completed by June 2013. The building is designed by Thomas, Miller & Partners, PLLC and will be built by Messer Construction.