The TTU funding, which was included in the U.S. Congress discretionary spending bill Nov. 20, comes as a result of efforts by members of the Tennessee delegation in Congress – Sen. Bill Frist, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Rep. Bart Gordon, and Rep. Lincoln Davis.
"We're grateful for the support we receive from our Tennessee delegation in Washington," said TTU President Bob Bell. "They keep the interests of Tennessee Tech and all of their constituents in mind as they continue the good work they do for our nation."
"Tennessee Tech is one of the best universities in the state," said Gordon. "And the students and faculty at Tech are among the best and brightest. That's why I work so hard to ensure the university has the resources it needs to teach students skills needed to compete in a dynamic, high-tech workforce."
The federal funds include $500,000 for the TTU School of Nursing building project, for which private donations are currently being sought. The new nursing facility will allow TTU to double the number of nurses it graduates each year, helping address a nursing shortage in Tennessee and across the nation. The project will also allow TTU to create a Center for Rural Health Nursing, which will focus on serving the nursing and health-related needs of the rural populations surrounding TTU. The university hopes to break ground on the facility in Fall 2005.
Just over $1.3 million in funding will support a new STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Center at TTU. The proposed $6 million center will focus on teaching and learning in those fields and house state-of-the-art laboratories to help train teachers in the region to develop better methods of teaching science-related subjects with appropriate technology. The ultimate goal, according to campus officials, is to develop ways to help students become better educated and prepared for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
"Math and science skills are critical for workers in an increasingly global economy," said Senate Majority Leader Frist. "This funding is an investment in Cookeville students, and will allow Tennessee Technological University to ensure its students are prepared to use the science and technology that is driving the world marketplace."
The project will have both immediate and long-term impact, according to Bell. "By helping our teachers today learn better methods to use in the classrooms, we're also helping all the future generations of students who will study and work in these fields. The center will benefit everyone — the K-12 systems through teacher and student preparation, the university through collaboration and research, and the community through a more highly trained and skilled workforce," he said. "And what better place to house it than the state's only technological university?"TTU researchers will also benefit from another $250,000 in federal funds to continue research on materials for rapid repairs of highway and airfield pavements. TTU faculty members are currently working on a process to speed repairs and reduce expense for both commercial and military operations. The funding will allow continued refinement and improvement of the materials.