KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Roane State Community College, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville and Covenant Health have joined together to create a ‘state-of-the-art’ healthcare training facility in West Knoxville.

The Knox Regional Health Science and Simulation Center will replace Roane State’s Knox County Center for Health Sciences and become the new home for TCAT Knoxville’s health science programs. The simulation center will allow instructors to create realistic simulations of the work students will be doing when they graduated. In total the center is planned to be 130,000 square feet with 11,000 square feet devoted to the simulation center.

“This partnership will create a unique synergy between classroom studies and hands-on experience for students in our region. Students will have the convenience of attending classes at the new center and participating in clinical training opportunities right across the street at Parkwest Medical Center, as well as other Covenant Health facilities,” said Mike Belbeck, executive vice president of operations for Covenant Health.

To help pay for the projects, Governor Bill Lee‘s 2022-23 budget proposal includes a request for $67,500,000 in state funding for the center. Roane State is expected to provide at least a $6,500,000 campus match. The total estimated cost of the project is $75,000,000, and it includes $1,000,000 in set aside in the fiscal year 2021-22 for the preliminary design phase.

Several Roane State programs, including nursing, EMS, polysomnography and respiratory therapy, will be served by the center. The college also plans to add new programs that will benefit including cardiovascular technology, healthcare administration, fire science and public health. TCAT Knoxville’s health science programs, including dental assisting, phlebotomy and surgical technology, will also be offered at the center.

“Healthcare is critical to the people of East Tennessee, and a steady supply of highly skilled and trained professionals is crucial to both the care of patients and the success of the industry. This project will increase that supply, and give students great new career opportunities in health professions in high demand. It will also free up space on our campus for other career and technical programs. It’s a win-win-win for all,” TCAT Knoxville President Kelli Chaney said.

The governor’s 2022-23 budget proposal is being considered by the state legislature. Once fully funded and approved, Roane State, Covenant Health and TCAT Knoxville hope to open the facility within three years.