Lanier Technical College has been in a state of transition for nearly three years since announcing that it would relocate from its decades-old campus adjacent to the University of North Georgia in Gainesville to the intersection of Ga. 365 and Howard Road in North Hall.
But that hasn’t stopped the trade school from meeting its obligations to students, even in the summer when things slow down a little.
“Everything (at the current campus) is running as is …” Lanier Tech President Dr. Ray Perren said. “We are continuing to focus on providing instruction to students.”
Summer is the smallest of the college’s sessions, “for sure,” Perren said, with an enrollment about 60 percent of the fall and spring semesters.
But dual-enrollment for this summer has increased about 30 percent, Perren said, as high school students finish up their coursework and get a jumpstart on higher education.
“We are a year-round college,” Perren added. “Our programs are designed for students to be engaged in all three semesters.”
Meanwhile, construction of the new campus is nearing completion, which is currently scheduled for September, and Perren said the full move-in would begin after Thanksgiving.
Administration is putting together a request for proposals to hire a contractor to conduct the move, Perren said.
The $131 million campus on 95 acres will host 2,700-plus students when it opens in January and could also serve a growing regional economy in Northeast Georgia.
It will feature six buildings with a combined 335,000 square feet, compared to the 180,000 square feet on 43 acres at the current campus There will be capacity for about 5,000 students.
The college will also include a wide variety of programs, including allied health, continuing education, ammonia refrigeration, general education, business, computer science, adult education, early childhood education, motorsports, welding, diesel technology and fire science.
Among the new buildings is a 40,000-square-foot conference center with a 20,000-square-foot ballroom that can comfortably house 750 people.
Perren said workers are installing network infrastructure, which should go live July 1.
Long-term planning and support from the college’s board, the local community, UNG, state lawmakers and the technical college system have helped make the relocation a fairly smooth and manageable affair, Perren said.
“I’m not going to say that it’s not a challenge,” he added. “But we’re in a good place.”
This confidence is bolstered by the fact that Lanier Tech has raised $3.8 million of a $5 million fundraising campaign that kicked off last fall for additional relocation expenses.