A recent purchase by ETSU will lead to expanded facilities and parking for students.

Last week, ETSU bought the Millennium Centre, a major event and conference facility, for $5.82 million. The building is located right across from the school, connected by the pedestrian bridge that goes over West State of Franklin Road. Years of partnership with the building culminated in ETSU’s new ownership—which could open many doors for students and staff.

The Millennium Centre was originally called The Continuing Education Center. From its start in 1998, the building was intended to be a hub for both students and the community. It was designed to hold conferences and meetings. The city owned the  center, but ETSU used the facility frequently. Even then, city leaders foresaw that the university could end up owning the building one day.

Before the purchase, the Millennium Centre housed everything from weddings to team-building meetings. According to the Millennium Centre website, the center is partnered with several companies around the Tri-Cities. Companies could rent out rooms for meetings or events and then spend the night in the nearby Carnegie Hotel.

ETSU has a strong presence in the building. Currently, the Millennium Centre is home to a digital media center, health programs, classes, conferences and events all connected to the university. Some campus organizations and classes hold presentations and special lectures there.

“ETSU owning the Centre is a win,” said Jeremy Ross, the chief operating officer of ETSU. “I think it’s fantastic.”

Now that ETSU owns the building, the school no longer has to pay rent. The purchase increases ETSU’s presence on that side of the street, alongside the upcoming performing arts center. Millennium Centre parking will also be available to the ETSU community, according to Ross. Some parking will still be reserved for hotel guests, but a large section will be portioned off for ETSU.

“I think it will be great for ETSU and the community,” said Ross.

The sale is expected to close before Oct. 1.