By Aziza Jackson
CARROLLTON, Ga. — West Georgia Technical College (WGTC) is planning a new campus in Carroll County to replace its current 50-year-old facility, provide additional space and expand instructional offerings. The campus will be located on nearly 40 acres of land in the Buffalo Creek Technology Park in Carrollton. Carroll County and the City of Carrollton developed the Tech Park and the Carroll County Development Authority has committed property there for the campus.
“From my first day at West Georgia Tech, people have been talking about a new campus in Carroll County,” said WGTC President Dr. Scott Rule. “We know we need it. Our educational partners know we need it. Our industrial and business partners know we need it. Our students know we need it. The college has been working for years to get to this point, and we are so pleased to announce that, through the generosity of the Carroll County Development Authority, property is committed and we are also working with a $4 million state allocation in this fiscal year to hire architects and project managers for campus construction.”
Rule said the Technical College System of Georgia has requested an additional $49.4 million in next year’s state budget for campus construction. As part of the state budget, these funds will need to be approved by the General Assembly in its 2019 session.
WGTC operates five full-service campuses across seven counties in West Georgia and over 7,100 credit students are enrolled this fall. Carroll County Area Vocational Technical School opened in 1968, making Carrollton one of the original sites for what is now West Georgia Tech. About 1,700 credit students attend class on the Carroll Campus this fall. About 100 additional students are taking GED prep classes there.
Daniel Jackson, president and CEO of Carroll Tomorrow and the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, said he and his staff have been working with a number of community partners for several years on this project.
“It has taken the cooperation of all our partners to get to this point,” said Jackson. “I think you can look back at 1968 and see the vision of those men and women who knew that technical training was needed if Carroll County were going to grow. And it has grown. It has grown so much that the facility they built in 1968 can’t accommodate the training we need now.”
Local legislators have been instrumental in securing the $4 million in design money this year, and will be crucial to obtaining construction money in future state budgets, said Rule. If construction funds are approved by the General Assembly in 2019, they could be available by August, he said.
“At a minimum, the new campus will include all of the instructional programs offered at our existing Carroll Campus,” said Rule. “The construction budget would support a campus of around 160,000 square feet plus a full commercial truck driving range. The current campus is about 100,000 square feet including all the various buildings on the Newnan Road site. Obviously there are programs we would like to add to better support the businesses and industries in Carroll County.”