For Immediate Release - Southwest Tennessee Community College

Date: December 2, 2010

Southwest Tennessee Community College Receives an $8.4 Million Capital Outlay Appropriation from the State to Complete its New Nursing, Natural Sciences and Biotechnology Building

Southwest Tennessee Community College is one of 11 community colleges in the state to receive its share of an $87 million windfall allowing these institutions to expand their overcrowded campuses.

Earlier this week, a Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) committee approved construction and expansion projects at these institutions and today the full TBR board signed off on the funding. Locally, Southwest will get the multi-million dollar state appropriation to complete its $18 million Nursing, Natural Sciences and Biotechnology Building to be built near downtown Memphis at its Union Avenue Campus.

Upon completion, the new building will accommodate a 45 percent increase in Nursing students, a 25 percent increase in Natural Sciences laboratory offerings, and an expansion of the Biotechnology program to 40 students. Southwest's Nursing program is one of the finest RN programs in the region with a 100 percent pass rate on the national licensure exam for the second consecutive year.

"I am thrilled that Southwest will be able to complete Phases One and Two {of our key construction project} with this appropriation," said Nathan L. Essex, president of Southwest Tennessee Community College. Dr. Essex added "many worthy students will be able to pursue their careers in nursing while allowing us to meet critical needs in our community."

Karen Nippert, vice president for Institutional Advancement at Southwest, was elated about the capital outlay funding which required the colleges to have a minimum 15 percent match. She said, "Because donors have been so supportive of this project, Southwest was in a position to more than meet the required match to receive the state appropriation, and we are grateful." The Southwest Foundation raised approximately $10 million through individuals, corporations, foundations, organizations and federal appropriations.

It has been reported that the funds came from an unexpected surplus in the state budget, when federal stimulus money freed up $120 million. The legislature decided to spend the money on high-priority construction projects at select community colleges and technology centers.


Photo caption: Rendering of Southwest's Nursing, Natural Sciences, and Biotechnology Building

For more information contact: Robert Miller, (901) 333-4368, or via e-mail at: