Rebecca Ashford, the President of Chattanooga State Community College, welcomes guests during the dedication of Chattanooga State's Erlanger Health Science Center Monday, June 25, 2018 at Chattanooga State Chattanooga, Tennessee. The health science center is a 99,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility.

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Chattanooga State, Erlanger celebrate partnership with school renaming

Chattanooga State Community College's Health Science Center was officially renamed Monday as the Erlanger Health Science Center.

"Erlanger has a long history of successful collaboration with the college dating back to the 1980s, when we launched nursing and an array of allied health programs," said Rebecca Ashford, president of Chattanooga State, at a news conference Monday. "We are grateful Erlanger has generously committed more than $2 million cumulatively to the Chattanooga State Foundation and remains a steadfast community partner to the college in a variety of ways."

The health system's partnership with the school extends from internships and job shadowing to employment of many of Chattanooga State's graduates, especially from the nursing program. In fact, more than 120 of the program's graduates in 2017 were hired at Erlanger, said Jan Keys, senior vice president and chief nursing executive for Erlanger Health System.

That same year, Chattanooga State's registered nursing program graduates had a 100 percent pass rate on the national exam required for students to obtain their nursing licenses.

"We are proud to have the Erlanger Health Science Center here at Chattanooga State because we have been partners for many years," Keys said. "Chattanooga State does an incredible job of preparing students for their nursing careers — they give us the workforce that we are so proud of. Without them we could not continue to do what we do in providing health care needs for our patients."

Construction on the two-story, 99,000-square-foot building began in 2009, though the college was awarded funding for the center in 2005, with a vision for its construction dating back to the early 1990's. Chattanooga State has a simulation lab similar to a lab at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga — something Keys hopes to see one day on Erlanger's campus.

The Tennessee Board of Regents approved the name change last December, said Tom Griscom, a regents board member.

"Chattanooga State and Erlanger Health System have enjoyed a strong relationship since the hospital integrated the school of nursing into the college in the mid-1980's," Griscom said. "The nurses and the other health care professionals trained here are a part of Erlanger and Erlanger is a large part of Chattanooga State. As our region's only academic medical center, it is a magnet for doctors and researchers from around the globe."

A second Chattanooga State building will also be dedicated this week. The school's new construction lab located in the Center for Engineering, Technology, Arts and Sciences building will be dedicated at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

American General Contractors of East Tennessee donated funding for the state-of-the art lab that will provide hands-on learning opportunities for students to grow the construction engineering technology program and prepare students for a career in construction.

Contact staff writer Meghan Mangrum at or 423-757- 6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.