BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) – Bristol Tennessee City Schools announced a donation from The Mitch Walters family and Friendship Automotive Enterprises on Wednesday.
Tennessee High and Middle School students will soon be moving into the former Friendship Dealership location on Volunteer Parkway, soon-to-be called the “Friendship Career Center,” which will house the “Viking Academy,” a site for work-based learning.
School officials said the building is worth around $2 million and with some of the equipment that is being left behind, the total donation is around $2.5 to $2.8 million.
“This will allow us to add three new programs to start with,” Bristol Tennessee Director of Schools Dr. Annette Tudor said. “Which is the automotive collision program, it will also allow us to start agriculture and then the mechanical, electrical and plumbing program.”
“This is where we started our family business, so it does have some sentimental value,” Walters said. “Both my sons went to Tennessee High School, and we’re glad to give back to Tennessee High School. It means a lot.”
Walters said the idea to donate the building was born when he saw a need in his community.
“We’re in the automobile business, and we need skilled automotive technicians,” Walters said. “This will help cultivate technicians for our business and the other automobile dealers in the region as well.”
“This is what we really want to see more of in our community, is this public-private partnerships where we can join forces with our community employers to really provide the best opportunities for our students in Bristol,” Tudor said. “We are very much appreciative of their donation.”
Tudor said students will be able to utilize the center once a few renovations are complete, with a goal of August 2022 at the latest.