Construction crews could break ground as early as May on the planned new location of Lanier Technical College — an estimated 320,000-square-foot, six-building campus — according to Ray Perren, president of Lanier Technical College.
During a meeting of South Hall business leaders and the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Tuesday morning at Lanier Technical College, Perren discussed further details for a new campus slated to open in fall of 2018.
Sitting on 85.5 acres off Ga. 365 at Howard Road, the new location will feature all the current programs offered at the 43-acre campus in Oakwood, as well several new courses like commercial truck driving, marine engine technology, occupational therapy and wireless engineering technology, according to Perren.
“When the dust shook out, this tract was perfect for our use, and we’re very excited about it,” Perren said.
He went on to say that a number of factors went into selecting the tract on Ga. 365, including accessibility, size and proximity to prospective employers for students.
He said the fall 2018 opening date is “an aggressive building target,” but one the school hopes to hit.
The purchase price of $6.4 million was decided by essentially splitting the difference between appraisals of $5.22 million and $7.53 million.
The State Properties Commission unanimously approved the deal in October.
Lanier Tech’s main campus has been located off Mundy Mill Road in Oakwood 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School officials have said the current buildings are outdated and that the new location is optimal for growing enrollment. There are currently about 3,500 students at the Oakwood campus.
State officials have said in past interviews with The Times that the location on Howard Road was also chosen because it provides direct access to Ga. 365 and has utilities infrastructure in place. The land is already graded for construction, as well.
Perren said the Oakwood campus of Lanier Technical College “will become part of the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus … this campus will continue to have an educational legacy.”
He also said Lanier Tech was grateful for its time in the Oakwood area.
“South Hall has been very good to Lanier Tech for more than 50 years, and we’re so proud to be a part of the South Hall community. Our moving up to the other side of Gainesville is in no way trying to get out of South Hall. We love South Hall.”