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PSTCC breaks ground for new building

Pellissippi State Technical Community College will soon house a new 27,000 square-foot art and media building.

A groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, Sept. 26, signified the beginning stages of the new building, which is expected to be finished July 2007, said Julia Wood, public relations representative for Pellissippi State.

“They are already using the newest and greatest technology, but this facility will give students more space,” Wood said. “Everyone at the college has been looking forward to this for a very long time.”

The new building is largely funded by the state with a $6.25 million allowance. Although a $1 million gift from Dee Bagwell Haslam helped satisfy the $2 million difference the university was responsible for, Wood said.

In response to the “generous” gift, organizers have submitted a request to the Tennessee Board of Regents, Pellissippi State’s governing institution, to name the building Bagwell Center for Media and Art, in honor of Haslam’s parents, Ross Bagwell and Sue Burchfield Bagwell, Wood said.

Ross worked as CEO and chairman of Bagwell Commun-ications Inc./Cinetel Product-ions until he sold the company to Scripps Howard Broadcast-ing. Ross and his son, Ross Bagwell Jr., currently run and operate several production companies.

The $1 million donation was the largest Pellissippi State has ever received, Wood said.

For students and faculty the new building will provide much needed space and opportunity for community development, said Dr. Margaret Ann Jeffries, department head for the Engineering and Media Technologies program.

“The new building will bring video, photography, Web technology all under one roof,” Jeffries said. “It is very much going to meld our media programs together.”

A problem for media arts students in the past has been a lack of access to equipment because of small storage space. The new facility will provide areas for the equipment, Jeffries said.

A gallery will be built in the new building, where students, faculty, staff and members of the surrounding community can display creative works. In addition, the new building will also house a TV studio, Jefferies said.

“We will have a photography studio that any photographer would be jealous of,” Jefferies said. “Overall this will provide one more opportunity to show East Tennessee that we have some great artists and designers in this area.”

The new building will be located next to the McWherter building, Wood said.

The Media Technologies program includes four concentrations including communi-cation technology, photogra-phy, video production technology and Web technology.

Students who complete the program’s requirements earn an Associate of Applied Science degree.


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