Work is well underway to turn the old American Uniform facility on Parker Street into the Partnerships in Industry & Education Center, or PIE Center. Site director Kyle Page gave an update …
Work is well underway to turn the old American Uniform facility on Parker Street into the Partnerships in Industry & Education Center, or PIE Center.
Site director Kyle Page gave an update to the Bradley County Board of Education during its recent meeting.
Since closing on the building July 27, 2017, school officials have been making plans for the building, including looking at funding sources. While Page noted the school district did not receive the state funding it had hoped for this year, he said plenty of progress is still being made.
“We still have people — tenants — ready to get things up and running,” said Page.
Bradley County Schools plans to house both students and businesses in the PIE Center, with the idea of the students getting to work with the businesses to gain job skills.
Several committees, which include both school and business leaders from a variety of industries, have been formed to develop this concept.
Page explained work has been done to clear some 300 tons of debris out the building and get the site ready for renovation. Designs have also been developed to make efficient use of the property.
“You can walk through there now; there’s not all this stuff,” Page said. “Also, the exterior’s improving; the grounds are being maintained. … I’ve had several calls from people in the city saying ‘thank you’ for keeping the grounds improved.”
He shared some up-to-date interior floorplans designed by architect David Hudson of Artech Design Group.
Page described how there will be specific “zones” in the facility for students, including spaces for specific career and technical education programs and for alternative school Goal Academy. There will also be designated areas to be rented to tenants who will conduct business there and work with students.
The next step will be to work with “anchor tenants” to develop their spaces. These include Wright Brothers Construction, which has officially signed on as a tenant and is expected to begin building out its portion of the building this year.
Page said there are also promising discussions related to opening a nonprofit health clinic at the site, to provide health care services to the community will giving health science students opportunities for internships.
Tranco Logistics, which has signed on as a tenant, is evaluating what it can do in the space given some recent changes to its business needs, Page said. At the same time, “a few different contract manufacturers” have expressed interest in the PIE Center.
On the education side of things, school and business officials have been discussing how the district can take “a very focused approach” to help students choose and develop their skills for career fields.
Tours are also beginning to be conducted with representatives of the local Chamber of Commerce, area companies and teachers.
“It has been an amazing thing to watch this community come together around this concept,” said Page.
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