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Lanier Tech’s Dawson County expansion nears completion

POSTED: July 11, 2012 11:55 p.m.

DAWSONVILLE — After 10 months of construction, Lanier Technical College is nearing completion on a major expansion that will more than double the educational space at its Dawson County campus.

“Our schedule is still moving along. We are still looking at mid-July to take occupancy of the building,” said Tim McDonald, dean of the Dawson campus.

The $5 million project, which broke ground last September off Ga. 9 north near Dawson County Middle School, has had few delays due to weather or other factors, according to officials.

McDonald said if the work is completed on schedule, classes likely will start there in mid-August.

“We are looking at having our automotive programs and possibly cosmetology dual-enrollment in the new building,” he said.

The other programs will transition into the new site throughout the semester.

“We will start some classes at our current location and as our furniture and equipment come in we’ll transfer to the new building,” McDonald said.

The Dawson campus welcomed its first students in October 2005.

The campus is currently housed in a building owned by the Dawson County Board of Education.

The school board, Lanier Technical College and the Dawson County Board of Commissioners each provided $100,000 to buy the land for the expansion.

The construction is funded predominantly through state bonds, according to McDonald.

As of Monday, about 100 students are enrolled to start classes this fall.

McDonald said many of those are new. Plus, the high school dual-enrollment program is growing in popularity.

According to recent graduation rates, there has been a rise in the number of high school students with dual enrollment at Lanier Tech’s five campuses, which also include Oakwood, Forsyth County, the Winder-Barrow area and Jackson County.

McDonald said students graduating from the Adult Literacy Center’s programs should also consider the college for furthering their education.

“Lanier Tech is a great option as the second step in their education,” he said.

Programs offered at the new Dawson campus will include medical assistant, certified nursing assistant, business administration, welding and cosmetology.

The automotive technology and electrical systems technology programs are exclusive to the Dawson campus. McDonald said Gov. Nathan Deal’s Go Build Georgia initiative may help draw more students. With a focus on technical skills, the initiative pushes more students toward careers in industrial and commercial construction.

“The Go Build Georgia initiative will benefit the college,” he said. “We have the electrical and welding programs and those are two targeted industries that are expected to have a shortage of workers in the next five to 10 years.

“With transportation also a part of that initiative, we think our automotive service technician program will grow as well.”

The Dawson campus is expected to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony in late fall.

“We are excited to be here in the community,” McDonald said of staff, faculty and students. “We’re excited that we are able to offer a larger facility with some expanded services.”


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