Chattanooga State Kimball Site Gaining Momentum
By Betty A. Proctor, Chattanooga State
Chattanooga State’s Kimball Site opened to serve students residing in Marion and Grundy Counties in 1993. Initially housed in the Regional Skills Center located on the outskirts of South Pittsburg, the Marion County Regional Institute for Higher Education opened to great excitement in 2014 on Main Street in Kimball. Since that move, the Kimball Site has continued to grow and expand to better serve the needs of the area. Completed in 2018, the second building at the site was officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 26, hosted by David Jackson, Marion County Mayor and Dr. Rebecca Ashford, Chattanooga State President. Also present were Senator Janice Bowling, State Representatives Rick Tillis and Iris Rudder.
During the ribbon cutting ceremony, the Industrial Maintenance Lab was named in honor of the late David Kirk, former Mayor County Mayor. The Welding lab was named in honor of Tommy Thompson, who has served as a member of the Marion County Commission for 35 years. Chattanooga State appreciates the support these two men have given to Chattanooga State Kimball Site over the years.
The two facilities add renewed energy along with additional space to expand programs and services to its students and area residents. The first building included new science labs, additional classroom space, computer labs, study areas, better lighting and flow. As the second building reached completion, welding and industrial maintenance technology programs were relocated to their new home.
In 2017, Polytech Academy at Kimball opened as a joint partnership between the Marion County Board of Education and Chattanooga State. It is a unique blend of high school and dual enrollment courses designed to give students a jump-start on their education and career paths. “The Polytech at Kimball program is staring its third cohort class. This program allows students to begin their junior year in high school while earning 46 hours toward an A.A.S. Engineering Systems Management degree,” states Julie Bennett, Kimball Site director.
“The third cohort group of the Early College Academy will begin this fall,” says Bennett. This program starts with area high school freshman who can earn an associate degree when they graduate from high school. During their freshman and sophomore years they complete online courses. “Starting their junior year, they will be attending the Kimball Site. We are excited to have the 26 ECA students at the Kimball Site this fall,” she adds.
With added space and a growing enrollment, Kimball provides many more opportunities to its students and community. Student activities bring the “fun” to campus life, while unique offerings such as the award-winning Writers@Work program engage and delight both students and community members. There are any number of information sessions offered throughout the year: TN Promise, TN Reconnect, Early College, Polytech Academy and more. Also, two of the most talked about goals include expanding the Engineering Technology programs and bringing Chattanooga State’s outstanding registered nursing program to the Kimball Site.
Chattanooga State, Marion County Department of Education, and TN American Water Company partnered to launch the inaugural Elementary Science Olympiad on May 8. “We hope that these students continue their love of science into their futures as they consider career choices,” said David Stanislawski, Professor Emeritus of Chattanooga State and Tennessee Director for the National Science Olympiad.
This summer, The Economic and Workforce Development Division will offer Robotics & Coding summer camps for children ages 8-12 during July. Register online at https://www.chattanoogastate.edu/economic-workforce-development click on Summer Camps – RoboThink STEM Summer Camp and choose the Kimball Camp you want.
Credit and TCAT classes may be viewed at https://www.chattanoogastate.edu/schedule/offcampus-fall. Call (423) 837-1327 for assistance.