A $39 million Community Facilities direct loan to allow for renovation of current space and construction of a new science and math building at Tusculum College was announced on Thursday, Sept. 27, by USDA Rural Development Administrator Tammye Treviño.
“Tusculum College is a key economic driver for the Greene County and Northeast Tennessee region,” said Treviño at a news conference announcing the partnership between Tusculum College and USDA.
“The college’s faculty and staff have a long, distinguished history of ensuring that businesses have a homegrown source of well-educated workers to keep the region competitive and our rural communities healthy,” she added.
Rep. Phil Roe, philanthropist Scott Niswonger and Tusculum President Nancy B. Moody were joined by Trevino and other officials and local leaders at the college for the announcement of a new partnership between USDA Rural Development and Tusculum that will lower overhead while also funding renovations to historic Tredway Hall and construction of a new science and math facility.
According to Moody, the lower interest rate $39 million Community Facilities direct loan from USDA will significantly lower what the college pays in debt service, making the new construction and renovation possible while also improving the college’s overall finances.
Treviño lauded Tusculum officials and community leaders during a visit to USDA projects in North Carolina and Tennessee this week. Thursday she delivered the lunch keynote address to the Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises’ Residential Energy Efficiency Summit at the Millennium Conference Center at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City before traveling on to Greeneville.
Dr. Kenneth A. Bowman, chair of the Board of Trustees said, “We are pleased that USDA believes in Tusculum’s mission and that we are fiscally responsible. The terms of this loan not only lower costs, but also make it possible for us to move forward on other important and needed projects, such as the Ronald H. and Verna June Meen Center for Science and Math.”
Niswonger, also a member of the Board of Trustees, agreed that the USDA loan allows immediate needs to be addressed. “This partnership with USDA Rural Development allows us to address facility needs to positively impact students and increase their educational opportunities as soon as possible. It will also have a tremendous local economic impact.”
“I am pleased to see my good friend Scott Niswonger and Tusculum President Nancy Moody partnering with the USDA,” said Roe. “This partnership will allow for important upgrades and renovations on campus without crippling the college financially. I’ve worked with everyone involved in this partnership, and you won’t find a group of people more dedicated to Rural Development and improving lives of those in the First District. I thank the USDA, Tusculum and their Board of Trustees for all their hard work on these issues.”
Heather Patchett, vice president for Institutional Advancement, said efforts have already begun to secure gifts for the construction of the new Center for Science and Math that will provide advanced facilities for research by faculty and students and provide the room needed for Tusculum to explore the addition of new courses and programs needed in the region.
She added, “There are also several naming opportunities available as part of the project and alumni and friends of the college have already indicated great interest in the science building.”
Tusculum College, the oldest college in Tennessee and the 28th oldest in the nation, is a liberal arts institution committed to utilizing the civic arts in developing educated citizens distinguished by academic excellence, public service and qualities of Judeo-Christian character. Approximately twenty-one hundred students are enrolled on the main campus in Greeneville and three off-site locations in East Tennessee. The academic programs for both traditional-aged students and working adults served through the Graduate and Professional Studies program are delivered using focused calendars whereby students enroll in one course at a time.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, community development, homeownership and affordable rental housing to improve the economic health and increase opportunities in rural communities. During the last four years the agency has assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 158 communities, investing more than $3.3 billion into local economies through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in Northeast Tennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office in Greeneville at 423-638-4771, ext. 4, toll free at (800) 342-3149 ext. 1490 or online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.