Wednesday marked the beginning of what could be an exciting new chapter in the redevelopment of downtown Johnson City. That’s when officials with the Johnson City Development Authority met with leaders of Northeast State Community College to officially ink a contract for the community college to lease the Downtown Centre from JCDA for a satellite campus.
Last week, Washington County officials signed papers to sell the Downtown Centre to the JCDA for $1 million. The JCDA will now lease the building for a nominal yearly fee to Northeast State and provide another $1 million for renovations.
If all goes as planned, the community college will move into the building in the summer and begin holding general education courses there next fall. It will offer courses at the downtown site that will be useful for students who want to continue on to a four-year institution or pursue a program of study at the community college’s main campus in Blountville.
Northeast State expects to have between 200 and 300 students enrolled at the site when it opens next year. This arrangement will help increase the number of college graduates in our area.
It will also help to boost the business and social climate of the downtown area. Having students, faculty and staff downtown during the day to patronize shops and restaurants is a positive step in the area’s revitalization.
Leasing the Downtown Centre is a sound investment for Northeast State to make in the community it serves.