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Drake State Joins Downtown Revitalization Efforts


Drake State Technical College has announced plans to join the community’s downtown revitalization efforts. The college has entered into an agreement which calls for renovating a portion of a historic downtown building and provide some much needed space for the college’s exploding enrollment.

“After traveling to Chattanooga and seeing the positive relationship created by the presence of a college downtown, I was energized by the possibilities. The renovation of the space will allow our college to provide additional courses and expand our workforce development efforts,” says Dr. Helen McAlpine, President of Drake State Technical College.

The agreement is between Drake State and Schrimsher Company Incorporated which owns the historic Huntsville Times Building located at 228 Holmes Avenue. The agreement outlines that Schrimsher’s group will provide the college with a vanilla box space containing approximately 10,000 square feet in the basement of the building. The college will be responsible for the installation of interior divisions which will create seven new state of the art classrooms and office space.

“We are excited about the partnerships making this addition of space for the college a reality. Drake State wants to become a partner for downtown businesses by providing courses which will appeal to area professionals as well as infusing the community with energy,” adds McAlpine.

The college is preparing to utilize the space for classes beginning in the spring semester.

The announcement comes at a time when enrollment has spiked to the largest in the college’s history. Drake State has experienced double digit increases in excess of the typical increases posted by other colleges within the state’s two year college system. Through its entire range of services including adult education and workforce development, the college services over 3,000 students per year.
At this time, a portion of the basement space at the downtown location has been renovated, but the majority of the space to be occupied by Drake State has been demolished and will require extensive cosmetic improvements before occupation will be allowable.

“There is a lot of work to be done on the largest section of the basement. However, we have a wonderful group working as our partners on this project and anticipate having the space ready for the Spring Semester,” says McAlpine.
The Historic Huntsville Times Building is located at 228 Holmes Avenue at the corner of Holmes and Green Street. As its name implies, the building was home to the Huntsville Times when it was constructed in 1928. However, in 1956, the newspaper relocated. When the building was constructed it was the tallest skyscraper in Huntsville. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is currently home to several law firms, real estate groups and other small businesses.

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