New Blount tech center will be named for Wests

Sandra ClarkOn the Grow

Pellissippi State Community College has recognized major donors by naming the new building on its Blount County campus the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center.

Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. said the couple’s “generous spirit has made a lasting impact on the college and the Blount County community.”

The Tennessee Board of Regents approved the name request at its quarterly meeting June 21. The Wests’ donation will help build the new $16.5 million project. The 53,000-square-foot building will be used by Pellissippi State and Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville.

Pellissippi State’s part of the building is expected to house a Smart Factory MegaLab featuring Industry 4.0 curriculum and classes in computer information technology, culinary arts, electrical engineering technology and mechanical engineering technology.

TCAT’s section is expected to include classes in industrial electrical maintenance and welding, machine tool technology and pipe fitting.

Steve West was dealer principal of the family-owned West Chevrolet from 1974 to 2004. He served on the Blount County Industrial Board for 20 years and was mayor of Maryville from 1999 to 2003. Ruth West has served on Pellissippi State’s Foundation board of directors. Steve West said the two-year technical programs “are smart options.”

The new center should be open to students in fall 2021. Pellissippi State Foundation has raised $9.3 million of its $10 million goal to build both the workforce facility and the Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on the college’s Hardin Valley campus.

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