State leaders lauded the opening of the new Lanier Technical College campus in North Hall during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Oct. 19.
“Institutions like Lanier Technical College are an essential part of Georgia’s robust workforce and thriving business climate,” Gov. Nathan Deal said. “With unparalleled resources for learning and mastering high-demand skills, this location is truly a 21st-century campus for a 21st-century workforce.”
The $150-million, 335,000-square-foot campus will accommodate more than 5,000 students, doubling Lanier Tech’s current capacity. The campus will be open for classes in January 2019.
Rep. Emory Dunahoo, R-Gainesville, said the new campus will provide students interested in trade and vocational training an alternative to a typical liberal arts education at a university or college.
“This is going to be the prototype for all other technical colleges in the state of Georgia … because this is planned for 40 to 50 years down the road of what our future workforce is going to be,” Dunahoo said. “I appreciate what it’s going to do for Hall County.”
Located on 95 acres, more than double the size of the college’s former location, along Ga. 365 across from Howard Road, construction of the new campus began in September 2016.
The campus is the first newly constructed technical college campus since the formation of the Technical College System of Georgia in 2007, which includes 22 colleges.
The new campus includes six buildings for technical education instruction, including an economic development and campus support building, instructional building, and an administration building and student center.
It also includes a 40,000-square-foot conference center with a 20,000-square-foot ballroom that will seat 750 “banquet style” and 1,500 people “theater style.”
The new campus will offer Lanier Tech’s 45 existing programs, as well as four new programs specific to the campus. The campus also has outdoor instructional space, including a commercial truck driving range and a burn tower for fire science instruction.
“When you think about it, over the next 10 years, 50 percent of the jobs that are in demand in Georgia are going to require technical college degrees,” said Rep. Matt Dubnik, R-Gainesville. “This is a beacon in our community. This is literally the campus on the hill.”
Lanier Tech's main campus has been located off Mundy Mill Road since the 1970s, with classes first beginning in 1966 and held in local schools, churches and civic buildings, according to its website.
School officials have said the current buildings are outdated and that the new location is optimal for growing enrollment.
“This (new) campus was built not only for the students of 2018, but for those who choose technical education in 2078,” said Dr. Ray Perren, president of Lanier Technical College. “We know, without a doubt, that our community partners will reap the benefits of the elite workforce produced at the Hall Campus of Lanier Technical College. The lives of generations will be forever changed because of this new campus.”
At the ceremony, the Gov. Nathan Deal Economic Development Center building was unveiled in honor of Deal.
“We understand the immense importance of Georgia offering a well-trained workforce to meet the employer demands of today and tomorrow, and the Hall campus of Lanier Technical College will prove to be a historic investment in technical education,” Deal said. “As Georgia’s newest economic development tool, this new campus will provide thousands of students with even greater opportunities to find enduring and meaningful careers here in the No. 1 state for business.”