PIKEVILLE, Tenn. — Students returning from the holiday break and seeing new paint and carpeting at Chattanooga State Community College's Sequatchie-Bledsoe campus might have thought they'd walked into the wrong place.
The updates, the first for the facility since Chattanooga State acquired it years ago, are "a much-needed improvement," said Debbie Adams, vice president of student affairs.
Adams said she remembers when the original vocational school was built around 1976 because her father-in-law, Carl Adams, was the superintendent of Sequatchie County Schools. The building was a joint venture between Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties.
"It's a great site, but it still had that look of an old vocational school and we just wanted to spruce it up and get some new offerings over there," Adams said.
She said more improvements are planned for the campus to boost Chattanooga State's presence in the Sequatchie Valley.
"One of the things we're looking at that site is to try to offer classes that prepare students for engineering technology degrees," she said.
Most of the work will be done by the end of spring classes, and all the updates should be finished by fall, she said.
Tammy Swenson, executive vice president for business and finance, said the campus "was plenty functional," but the flooring was shot and most of the furniture and other furnishings were aging.
"We try to renovate where we can on kind of a schedule when things start to decline," Swenson said. "We haven't done any real work over there in a long time."
Work this spring includes installation of new tile in the lobby bathrooms, she said, and new furniture is on the way. Some work is being done in-house to save money, while other work is being subcontracted.
Swenson estimated costs of the update at around $250,000.
Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...