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Two Lanier Tech projects included in governor's proposed spending plan

POSTED: February 4, 2008 5:02 a.m.


ATLANTA — The agency that oversees Georgia’s technical colleges presented its $387 million budget request Wednesday to a joint meeting of the House and Senate appropriations committees.

The 2009 budget package includes funds for an expansion of Lanier Technical College’s campus in Cumming and a new building for the college in Dawsonville.

The funds for both projects were approved by the House and Senate in the current year’s budget, but were subsequently vetoed by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

"He (Perdue) called me about a month later at lunch and assured me that the funds for Forsyth would be back in there," said state Sen. Jack Murphy, R-Cumming.

Lanier Technical College President Mike Moye, who attended Wednesday’s budget hearing, said having both projects included in the governor’s proposed spending plan is good news.

"We’re excited to have these projects recommended by the governor," Moye said. "We appreciate Gov. Perdue’s leadership in bringing these as a part of his budget."

The Forsyth project is a $1.5 million addition to the current appropriation for an allied health building to be constructed on the campus, located south of Cumming. The funds will be matched with funds to be raised locally for the construction of a 700-seat auditorium on the campus.

The project in Dawsonville would be the first building constructed specifically for the technical college, which currently operates out of the former vocational space of the old Dawson County High School.

"This will be a 27,000-square-foot building to go with the existing 18,000-square-foot building," Moye said.

In addition, construction is under way on an adjacent building that will house adult literacy classes. That building was funded by a federal grant that was matched by Dawson County.

Ron Jackson, interim commissioner of the Department of Technical and Adult Education, said the two projects are clearly needed.

"The two projects for Lanier Tech in Forsyth and Dawson counties are good news for us and the colleges," Jackson said. "It means we will be able to serve more students in new and good facilities."

Carl Swearingen, a former top BellSouth executive, who heads the Board of Technical and Adult Education, said the state gets its money’s worth in technical colleges.

"The value is in the workforce development, the technical skills and the academic combination," Swearingen said.

He said the state has been able to tailor its technical college system to meet the needs of expanding industry, citing as an example the $20 million technical college training facility for the Kia auto assembly plant at West Point.

"Many of the employees for Kia will be from Georgia, but I suspect there will be some from Korea and Southeast Asia coming to work for a world-class operation. One of the most important roles for the technical college system is to make sure they have the world-class technology to produce 300,000 cars a year."


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