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Success Stories

Math & Science Building Gives Students New Opportunities

Kathy Smith
Community Facilities

Lincoln Memorial University (LMU), founded in 1897 as a living memorial to Abraham Lincoln, is striving to rewrite the narrative of Appalachia in the Cumberland Gap of rural Northeastern Tennessee.  LMU recognized a rapidly growing need to expand its math and science program to support continued development of graduate programs for area students that includes doctoral and master degrees in medicine, science and nursing.

USDA Rural Development partnered with the university providing loans at reasonable rates and terms totaling $24.5 Million to construct a 140,000 square foot, state of the art classroom, research, laboratory, and office space.  The new facility includes a 400-seat auditorium, microscopy suite, over 4,600 square feet of research labs, a large anatomy suite, and advanced biology chemistry and physics facilities. All of the classrooms are enabled with lecture capture and streaming capabilities with complete wireless internet integration.  With this new facility, students have educational opportunities that were not available prior to this addition that reaches beyond the campus to a great number of off-site students as well at extended learning sites in Tennessee and Kentucky.

The Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program  provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. An essential community facility is defined as a facility that provides an essential service to the local community for the orderly development of the community in a primarily rural area, and does not include private, commercial or business undertakings.

In January 2014, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the expansion into Tennessee of the StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity strategy to grow rural economies.  Fifty-three Tennessee counties, including Claiborne County, are designated as “StrikeForce” counties.  This project is an excellent example of public, private partnerships working together to improve lives in our rural communities.

Obligation Amount:
$20,000,000; $4,500,000
Year(s) of Obligation:
Congressional District:
  • Tennessee: District 2