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News: Summit Medical Group donates $100,000 in support of new Knox Regional Health Science Education Center

Four people holding a large check.

Dr. Nick Thornton, board chair of Summit Medical Group; Scott Niermann, executive director of Roane State Foundation; Dr. Ed Curtis, CEO of Summit Medical Group; Dr. Chris Whaley, president of Roane State Community College.

October 10, 2023

Summit Medical Group donated $100,000 to Roane State Foundation in support of the fundraising campaign for a new state-of-the-art healthcare training facility, the Knox Regional Health Science Education Center. The contribution aligns with the organizations’ shared mission to foster education and training for the next generation of healthcare workers.

The new facility is expected to educate more than 8,000 students each year in a myriad of healthcare roles. Officials from Roane State Community College and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Knoxville celebrated the facility’s groundbreaking on Aug. 1. The 130,000-square-foot facility will be located on the newly named Covenant Health Campus at 9575 Sherrill Boulevard in Knoxville, replacing Roane State’s existing Knox County Center for Health Sciences on Hayfield Road. The land for the new center was donated by Covenant Health in January.

Reflecting on the critical healthcare gaps that the new center aims to fill, Summit Medical Group CEO Ed Curtis said, “This new facility is poised to become a hub for training a diverse range of healthcare professionals—everything from nurses to technologists, roles that are understaffed in our community and across the nation. Sharing our support was a logical step for us as an investment in the future workforce that we, and the healthcare system at large, will rely upon.”

Current Roane State programs to be housed in the new center include nursing, EMS, polysomnography and respiratory therapy, with the college planning to add new programs such as cardiovascular technology, healthcare administration and public health. TCAT Knoxville’s health science programs will be offered under the same roof, including dental assisting, phlebotomy and surgical technology.

The first level of the new building will accommodate spaces shared by Roane State and TCAT Knoxville, such as student services, continuing education, adjunct faculty offices and a more than 10,000-square-foot simulation center.

The simulation center will include an emergency department, ambulance bay and electronic medical record workstation as well as operating, ICU, medication and decontamination rooms. Multipurpose rooms that can be set up as an apartment, exam room or surgical suite will help immerse students in real-world scenarios that elevate their training and sharpen skills.

The total estimated dollar amount for the project is $75,000,000, which includes previous funding of $1,000,000 appropriated in fiscal year 2021-22 for the preliminary design phase.

“Roane State Foundation board members and many additional supporters have been at the forefront of communicating the important role this new facility will play in the life of the college, and most importantly, the students and community we serve,” said Roane State Foundation Executive Director Scott Niermann. “We are currently in the major gifts stage of campaign fundraising, meeting with area leaders, philanthropists and friends of Roane State to share more information about this project and how they might invest in this worthy cause. We welcome the support of citizens across the region who value a healthy, thriving community.”

The project’s preliminary timeline has the Knox Regional Health Science Education Center set to open for students in the fall of 2025.

Roane State Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation that seeks to enhance community awareness of the college, to secure private contributions and bequests, and to manage monies or properties given to the Foundation, including approximately $23 million in endowments and other investments. Roane State Foundation supports the college with capital projects, equipment, educational programs, and scholarships. For more information or to make a gift to support Roane State students, visit, email, or call (865) 882-4507.

About Summit Medical Group: Summit Medical Group is one of Tennessee’s largest primary care organizations, with more than 400 providers at more than 80 practice locations in 19 counties. Summit also consists of four diagnostic imaging centers, mobile diagnostic services, eight physical therapy centers, four express clinics, central laboratory and sleep services center. Summit provides healthcare services to more than 475,000 patients, averaging over one million encounters annually. For more information, visit

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