MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Over 200 years from when it first began, Maryville College announced it is returning to its roots by creating a space for classes in a building downtown.

Maryville College announced the Downtown Center where it will hold classes for it’s recently added Hospitality and Regional Identity major and Fermentation Sciences minor. President Bryan Coker explained the choice isn’t about expanding the college, it’s about establishing a presence in downtown Maryville.

“Downtown Maryville’s going through really a revitalization, a renaissance of sorts with lots of bold investors doing some wonderful things there, and we think we have both an opportunity and a responsibility to be part of that,” Coker said. “We want to do our part in making downtown Maryville a better place and getting our community members down there and attracting more of their community members over to campus.”

Coker also explained that the fate of the college and downtown are close, and that they are usually linked in a symbiotic relationship. Feeding back into the community, Coker said Maryville College is leasing the top floor of the historic J&K building on the corner of Court Street and East Church Avenue. From most places on campus, the new learning lab and “embassy” will only be between half-a-mile to a mile away.

The move will take Maryville College back across Highway 321, closer to where it first started in 1819 as part of “Southern and Western Theological Seminary.” Maryville College was chartered by the Tennessee General Assembly in 1842 and moved to its current location in 1867 according to the college’s website.

Coker shared that currently, the area that the college is leasing is a blank slate, but they are hoping to have it ready to open in early 2024. Once work is completed, Maryville College says there will be:

  • Two classrooms, primarily for Hospitality and Regional Identity courses
  • Offices for the program’s faculty
  • a teaching and demonstration kitchen for the Resturaunt at RT Lodge and other local dining partners to offer cooking classes for the community.
  • Brewing equipment and teaching space for the Fermentation Sciences minor, and space to offer beer-brewing classes to the community
  • A small spirit-and-gear store for the college

“For us, the relationship between the college and the Community could not be more important, you know you no one could imagine the city of Mayville without Mayville College, or vice versa. So that relationship to us is is just key.” Coker said.