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TCAT considering an extension campus here

Johnson County Mayor Larry Potter, State Rep. Timothy Hill met with Dean Blevins, director of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology, on Friday to discuss the possibility of establishing a TCAT extension campus in the Johnson County Industrial Park on State Highway 67.
The estimated project cost, $8.6 million, would include renovations to an existing spec building, paving and utilities, at a cost of $5.9 million, with the balance used to purchase training equipment.
If funding is approved by state officials, the 50,000 square foot spec building would house classrooms and shop areas to provide job training for graduates of Johnson County High School and other residents of Johnson County, Mayor Potter said.
Rep. Hill said he would like to see a TCAT extension campus established in Mountain City. “It would support Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to improve the high school graduation rate. It would also allow high school graduates to have free tuition to attend TCAT Elizabethton and Northeast State Community College training programs in Mountain City without students having to travel to Elizabethton or Blountville.”
Although specific training programs have not been determined at this time, Blevins said options would include welding, automotive and diesel powered equipment technology, construction trades, including residential and commercial wiring, plumbing, carpentry, hvac/refrigeration, licensed practical nursing, administrative office technology, and allied health programs, among others.
Rep. Hill said he would seek the support of Gov. Haslam, as well as Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who also represents Mountain City constituents in the Tennessee General Assembly.
Potter said it would be a win-win situation for Johnson County students, residents, and TCAT Elizabethton and bolster economic development in the county.  “TCAT Elizabethton can develop and deliver short-term training programs requested by business and industry, as well as the Tennessee Department of Correction for the Mountain City prison,” Blevins added.
For additional information about existing training programs at TCAT Elizabethton, telephone 423-543-0070, 1-888-986-2368 (toll free) or visit www.tcatcelizabethton.edu.