Lanier Technical College will relocate its current Oakwood campus to another location in Hall County, school and state officials announced Thursday.
The money for the land purchase was included in the budget approved this week by the state legislature.
“The way the legislation is written, the $10 million in bonds will be used to design a new campus and purchase property, for both purposes,” Ray Perren, president of Lanier Technical College, told The Times on Thursday.
The legislation also states $865,000 in state general funds will be specifically appropriated for the purpose of financing projects and facilities for the Technical College System of Georgia.
Perren said he doesn’t know many details and is still unsure of a timeline for the purchase, design and relocation.
“All I know is it will be in Hall County,” he said Thursday.
Gov. Nathan Deal’s office confirmed the move. In a statement, the governor said: “Lanier Tech has outgrown its current property, and this money is for a new campus and for the planning needed to bring this vision to reality. Lanier Tech is providing a high-quality education and giving students the job skills needed in today’s workforce.”
Perren said he can speculate what the new campus will include, but he cannot say for sure.
“My assumption is what we have here, we will move and have somewhere else,” he said.
The Oakwood campus opened in January 1967, and many of the facilities and buildings are dated or too small for the growing student needs.
In 2014, 3,277 students enrolled and attended classes on the Oakwood campus’ 43 acres behind the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus near Mundy Mill Road and Thurmon Tanner Parkway near Interstate 985.
Perren said relocating to a new campus would help the college attract students and would give it a better sense of identity.
“This is one of the older campuses in the system,” Perren said. “Gainesville-Hall County is one of the premiere centers for manufacturing and health care in northeast Georgia. Our mission is, of course, workforce development. Our mission is to be sure that manufacturing, health care and whoever has the workforce they need to grow.”
Perren said the allied health facility on the Oakwood campus has reached its capacity. It was built in 1975, and health care technology and needs have changed dramatically in the last 40 years.
Lanier Tech was also named Georgia’s Technical College of the Year in 2014 by the state board of the Technical College System of Georgia. Perren said the college will need to expand in Hall County in order to continue its level of excellence.
“The need is definitely there for us to either get new buildings or relocate,” Perren said. “We definitely need more facilities to do the job we’ve been charged with doing as far as workforce development.”