ON FRIDAY, MARCH 9, the Holston Conference Center will leave the offices it has leased in Knoxville since 1999 and move 16.6 miles to a conference-owned building in Alcoa.

On Monday, March 12, Holston staff members will resume business at 217 South Rankin Road.

The conference phone number, (865) 690-4080, will remain the same. The mailing address will change to P.O. Box 850, Alcoa, TN 37701-0850.

The relocation of offices for 30 conference staff members is the culmination of months of planning plus renovations to the 22,500- square-foot building purchased from Ruby Tuesday in September 2006.

The Annual Conference voted to give the Board of Trustees approval to purchase the three-story building for $1.8 million last June. Information on the final cost of the building, renovations, and moving expenses will soon be provided, said Conference Treasurer John Tate and Board of Trustees Chair Gene Frazer.

Conference leaders had previously announced the relocation could occur as early as August 2006. Those projections were "unrealistic, based upon the final design and renovation plan," said Tate.

"As we did a more thorough analysis of our working relationships and operations, we revised our plans," he explained.

The Alcoa building will more than double the conference's current space, Holston leaders have said. The purchase will also allow the conference to build equity, a projected $1 million over the next 10 years. The conference has paid about $100,000 annually to lease office space at 9915 Kingston Pike from Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Knoxville District.

Now, Holston Conference has its own tenants. The first floor of the Alcoa building has been occupied since October by Fidelity National Information Services, a data processing company. Fidelity, with 20 employees, will provide about $122,000 annually in income, Tate said.

Most Holston staff members will have working spaces on the second floor. Bishop James Swanson's offices, as well as the Maryville District office, are located on the third floor. The Rev. Carol Wilson, Maryville District superintendent, and Cheryl Thompson, administrative assistant, will be moving from their current address at 336 South Washington Street in Maryville.

The conference will now have three meeting rooms in the new office instead of one at the Cokesbury building, and two kitchens instead of one. However, storage space will be reduced.

Board of Trustees Chair Gene Frazer praised renovations to the 22-year-old building.

"When you walk into the building, there is absolutely no resemblance to what it looked like before," Frazer said. "It's remarkable how they have gone in there and made the area look brand new."

With the move, the conference will also gain a new telephone system and a security system. Some staff will now have direct telephone lines, saving church members from having to go through a central switchboard.

The Alcoa building is located 3.2 miles from McGhee Tyson Airport. The Conference Center's new neighbors are Alcoa Post Office, Calvary Baptist Church, First Tennessee Bank, Food City, and Big Lots. The nearest Holston churches are First Alcoa UMC and Broadway UMC, both of Maryville District.

Five of the 30 conference staff members live near the new office in the Alcoa/ Maryville area. Most of the others will drive from the Knoxville area.

Seven staff members - including camping and youth ministries employees - will remain in the Johnson City satellite office.

Holston members should notice little change in conference operations, except that staff will be predictably more difficult to reach on the moving date of March 9 and the first day in the new office on March 12, Tate said. Phone systems and the conference Web site are expected to remain operational during the move.

"You can expect minor hiccups," Tate said. "Anytime you move an entire office, you're going to have some issues."

The relocation is a "unique opportunity for Holston Conference staff to serve more efficiently," said Administrative Assistant Angela Lee, who Tate said has coordinated much of the building renovations and relocation planning. Although effort will be required to make the move, "we are showing good stewardship of our conference resources," said the Rev. Ron Matthews, executive assistant to the bishop. "Ultimately, the conference will own its own building."

How to get there

217 South Rankin is 3.2 miles from McGhee Tyson Airport in Alcoa, Tenn.

Starting from the airport entrance on Alcoa Highway/Airport Highway 129S, bear into the left lane.
Take the left fork toward Maryville/ Townsend/Smoky Mountains.
Go to the fourth traffic light. Turn right on Lincoln Street.

Go one block and turn left on South Rankin Road.

Turn left into the Holston Conference Center parking lot.

For more complete directions and alternate routes, visit

Effective March 12
New site address:

217 South Rankin Road
Alcoa, TN 37701

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 850
Alcoa, TN 37701-0850

Phone numbers: The same, except that some staff members will have direct lines. More information to come.


Bishop's Column

Cover Story:
Moving to Alcoa


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9919 Kingston Pike | Knoxville, TN 37922
PO Box 32939 | Knoxville, TN 37930 | Phone (865) 690-4080 | Fax (865) 690-3162
Toll-free outside the Knoxville calling area: 1-866-690-4080

210 Maple St. | Johnson City, TN 37604
PO Box 2506 | Johnson City, TN 37605 | Phone (423) 928-2156 | Fax (423) 928-8807

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