Motlow State Community College
P.O. Box 8500
Lynchburg, TN 37352-8500
Motlow Unveils Expansion Plan
September 28, 2011
Reprinted from Daily News Journal (Taylor Loyal) - Motlow State Community College President MaryLou Apple visited the school's Smyrna site Tuesday with a few small blueprints representing Motlow's big plans here.
In a classroom in front of a handful of faculty members and a few Motlow officials, Apple unveiled images of a 35,000-square-foot, two-story building the school plans to break ground on next year. The new building, which is twice as big as the school's current one, will be made possible through $7.6 million from the Tennessee Board of Regents as well as several grants and fundraisers.
The second building will feature seven classrooms, three science labs, three computer labs, a nursing lab, a nursing classroom and a student area. The design represents feedback from the faculty on what they thought was most important, Apple said.
"The list that you worked to give us is exactly what went into the building," she told the faculty.
Apple also pointed out that the new building will have faculty offices and a faculty lounge, which received applause from the crowd. Motlow's Smyrna site currently has about 15 full-time professors, who all share a single office. It also has 58 to 64 adjunct professors, depending on course offerings and teaching load.
Apple said she hopes the state starts the bidding process for the building in January and she expects it could be built in less than a year.
"If at the first of the year we could do a groundbreaking, that would be great," she said.
Heather Koller starting teaching at Motlow State's Smyrna site as an adjunct professor in 2004, when classes were still held at the Tennessee Army National Guard near Smyrna Airport. The school started offering classes in 1998 at Riverdale High School before moving to the Guard building in 2000. In 2006, Motlow opened its current building off Sam Ridley Parkway in Smyrna and Koller became a full-time teacher.
She was excited Tuesday to see the next chapter of Motlow's relationship with Smyrna.
"We've been talking about this for a long time," she said. "I think they did a great job."
The school has grown so much that enrollment at the Smyrna site has nearly doubled in the last decade. It now has 1,856 students, almost as many as the main campus in Moore County. In the spring, the Smyrna site had an enrollment of 2,096.
A lot of that growth can be attributed to the school's nursing program. But because Smyrna's building isn't big enough to expand with the interest in its nursing, enrollment will be forced to hover around 2,000 until the additional building opens.
"This year we had more nursing students request to go here than we could accommodate so they had to go to Tullahoma," said Cheryl Hyland, director of Motlow's Smyrna site. "I think (when the additional building opens) we're definitely going to see a spike in enrollment, especially in nursing."
Motlow's nursing program has received quite a bit of support from the Murfreesboro-based Christy-Houston Foundation, which makes grants to nonprofit organizations, particularly those that deal with health care. The foundation gave the school $600,000 for its current building and matched the $587,050 the school received in gifts and through fundraisers for the new building.
"There is obviously still a tremendous need in health care," Christy-Houston Foundation President Bob Mifflin said.
By going from 17,500 square feet to 52,500 square feet, the school will be able to stretch a little after students and faculty have been cramped for several years. If growth continues as expected, Apple said additional buildings may be needed to give the site more of a campus feel.
When not in class, students are squished in the hallways or at one of the few tables outside.
"The students sit on the floor or on the concrete or in their cars," Apple said. "There is no place for them to go eat a sandwich."
In fact, there is so little space available in the current building that Apple wasn't sure where she was going to be able to have the presentation about the future plans of the campus.
"I was surprised they could even move somebody out of here to do this," she said after the meeting.