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Saturday, September 18, 2021

WATE News Feature Story: City awards Knoxville College $200K grant for campus building renovations

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The City of Knoxville has just awarded a $200,000 grant to Knoxville College for capital improvements, or renovations.

“We are happy to help support the renovations at Knoxville College to house workforce development opportunities and partnerships right in the heart of the City. I am hoping this investment and continued community support will help revitalize the beautiful Knoxville College campus to once again serve students and surrounding neighborhoods.”


Knoxville College President Leonard Adams says this grant sends a signal that people should take a chance on the school.

“We been able to finally secure some money from local government that is hopefully going to open the doors to other public private partnerships,” Adams said.

Knoxville College has been a landmark in the city of Knoxville for nearly 150 years. But it’s seen better days. The historically Black college closed in 2015 after losing its accreditation. Since then, there’s been a constant effort to bring it up from the ashes.

Securing funding is a large factor in the revitalization of the school. This grant from the city is the first step toward the ultimate goal, which is to get the school back to what it used to be.

“Knoxville college needs to reconnect to the community and be a solution for some of the ills we see in the community and some of the shortcomings,” Adams said.

The money is going toward renovations to the alumni library. The school is working to bring back it’s workforce development program.

They will offer in-person classes inside of the library for various trades and skills that offer certifications, such as construction management, customer service, manufacturing, etc. The space will also be used to house administrative offices.

This not only is progress for the college, but for the community around it as well.

“We’re looking to that person that’s in Mechanicsville that’s getting ready to walk up here to Knoxville College saying I want to get into that trades program,” Adams said.

For lifelong Mechanicsville residents like Barry Dove Jr., this is good news.

“I grew up around here, my parents went here, I was pretty much raised here for a good portion of my life. I actually probably would have went to this school if it was active,” Dove said.

A win for the school is a win for the whole community. Dove says he’s considering taking a trades course at the school once it’s up and running.

“I’m thinking about going back and possibly getting a trade because what I went to school for hasn’t really helped out so that would be good for me because I could literally walk to it,” Dove said.

“You can come in, you don’t have to spend 4 years here. You can hit it, you can get your certificate, then you can get a job and make some money,” Adams said.

Adams says this project will be completed in phases: Phase 1 is cleanout, and has already begun. They’re hoping to move to phase two of repairing the exterior of the building next month. He estimates the entire project — with full funding — will take around 6 to 9 months.

CREDIT: WATE Channel 6 News

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