Nashville State finds likely temporary Dickson site, plans permanent facility

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The City of Dickson is working with leaders of Nashville State Community College to find a temporary location to continue housing classes in Dickson after it leaves The Renaissance Center campus this month.

Mayor Don Weiss Jr. informed the Dickson City Council at its July 18 meeting that the city is drafting an agreement to allow Nashville State to use the current Dickson Senior Center building in Downtown Dickson after the senior center moves to its new location.

“They are in a position right now that if they can’t find space we could lose Nashville State,” Weiss told the council. “If we lose Nashville State, the odds of us getting Nashville State back to Dickson, Dickson County, are slim to none.”

Nashville State has leased space and offered degree-level classes at The Renaissance Center on Highway 46 in Dickson since 2008. Freed-Hardeman University recently announced it has sold the property to David Rives Ministries of Lewisburg, which plans to convert the center into a Christian-based science museum and television production facility.

Nashville State President Dr. Shanna Jackson said in a statement that the college must be out of the Renaissance Center by July 28. She said the college will have a presence at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Dickson and offer classes the fall semester that starts next month.

“Administration and support services, along with some classes will be at TCAT. The student services team will begin working out of TCAT on Aug. 1,” Jackson said in the statement.

Jackson said the fall arrangement will include combined in-person and virtual classes.

Related: Christian-based science museum, studios moving into Renaissance Center

‘Looking for property’

Weiss said Nashville State has determined the current Senior Center at 206 West Walnut St. will work temporarily while the college moves toward a permanent location. Renovations continue on converting the former Dickson Athletic Club on Payne Springs Road into the new Dickson Senior Center.

“They feel like that will work for them on a temporary basis. By temporary we’re talking about three years,” Weiss said. “They are looking to build their own facility. They’re looking for property as we speak. They’ve identified a couple of different pieces of property. Dr. Jackson is very committed to Dickson and Dickson County. She wants to see a center of higher education here. Nashville State wants to remain in Dickson and Dickson County, if at all possible. But they’ve got to have space.”

“Once we secure a permanent new home, we will be able to grow and expand our programs and services to meet the growing needs of Dickson and the surrounding communities,” Jackson said.

Police department expansion deferred

City leaders had planned to move the Dickson Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division and Training Division out of the Municipal Building into the former senior center building. However, Weiss said he believes keeping Nashville State is important enough to delay those plans.

The mayor said “we feel like it’s very important that we try to help Nashville State.

“We feel like we can be in the new senior center sometime in October, as long as we don’t have any hiccups along the way,” Weiss said.

Nashville State will make renovations to the building and could begin offering classes there as soon as January for the spring semester.

Weiss said when Nashville State acquires property and begins working on plans for a Dickson campus, the state’s building process will include a local match of around 10 percent of the cost from the community, unless the land and campus are privately funded.

Prior to the sale of The Renaissance Center, Freed-Hardeman announced a reduction in its class offerings and a teach-out plan to allow students seeking a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing to continue their classes in Dickson and at its Henderson, Tenn., campus. Freed-Hardeman has not announced plans for continuing in Dickson beyond its current semester.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Nashville State finds temporary Dickson site, plans permanent facility