Columbia State's New Williamson Campus Taking Shape

Posted at 5:43 PM, Jul 21, 2015

FRANKLIN, Tenn. - Construction continues on the new Columbia State Community College Williamson Campus. It will replace an aging, and outdated facility.

The current campus is located near Franklin High School. The college has held classes at the facility since the early 1990's, but the building was never meant to be a college.

"This is an old vocational facility, where we've made classrooms, where we've put in walls," said Dr. Shanna Jackson, Dean of the Williamson Campus.

Nearly two-thirds of the campus is a former garage, and not air conditioned. Still, students use the space. The building has six general purpose classrooms, and no room to expand.

"We only have one science lab, and there are so many students in Williamson County who want to major in biology, and physics, and they can't take their classes here," Jackson said.

While the enrollment of students who live in Williamson County continues to increase, many students are not able to take classes close to home.

"We have more, and more, students from Williamson, that we can't serve in Williamson, that they're going to the Columbia campus, to be served. So the need is there, but we're unable to do it at this facility," according to Jackson.

Ten minutes from the current campus work continues on the new Liberty Pike campus. The $42 million project will more than double the available academic space for students.

"Where we are at currently we can't offer chemistry, or physics. So if a student is in a science major, then they need to travel to the Columbia campus to get that. So we can do the full compliment of the transfer of the classes that are needed for sciences, or engineering, or the like," said Dr. Janet Smith, President of Columbia State Community College.

The new, three-building campus, will have all state-of-the-art facilities, including a professional television production suite, and a music recording studio.

This is just the first phase of the master plan for the Williamson campus. If the plan is followed in the years to come, ten buildings will stand on the hillside in Franklin.

Administrators have already requested a fourth building be put onto the state's waiting list for capital projects.

"We have defined what the needs are in that next building, which is primarily a classroom building," said Smith.

If the construction stays on schedule the plan is to move into the new campus during the 2016 spring break. Classes will take place in the new facilities when students come back from break.