West Ga. Tech to build Coweta campus


West Georgia Technical College (WGTC) is on track to have a much larger presence in Coweta County and the surrounding areas.

The college last week received approval from the Coweta County Commission on a rezoning request that will lead to the April groundbreaking for 83,500 square feet of classroom space and the eventual construction of a 200,000-square-foot campus near Turkey Creek Road and I-85.

Though its service area is in Coweta and other west Georgia counties, the current WGTC campus in Newnan also has students from Fayette County.

WGTC Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dawn Cook said Tuesday the rezoning approval by the county commission will lead to the groundbreaking on April 29 for the first two buildings of nine eventual buildings that will total 200,000 square feet.

The college campus will be located on 38.85 acres adjacent to I-85 just south of Turkey Creek Road and just north of Ga. Highway 16.

First to be constructed are the 47,000-square-foot Allied Health Care building and the 36,5000-square-foot general classroom building. Classes in those buildings are expected to be ready to begin in fall 2012.

Cook said the campus property came by way of a donation to the West Georgia Technical College Foundation. Funding for the Allied Health Care building is being provided by the foundation while the general classroom building will be constructed with state funding.

Among the degree and certification offerings in Allied Health Care will be registered nursing, medical assistant, physical therapy assistant, electronic medical records technician, certified first responder and home health aide, Cook said. Those programs are expected to fit well with Coweta’s growing healthcare industry. Both the eight-story Piedmont Newnan replacement hospital on Poplar Road and the new Cancer Treatment Centers of America hospital at Ashley Park will open in 2012.

WGTC currently offers classes at the Central Education Center in Newnan. Cook said the current location serves more than 700 students, some of which are residents of Fayette County.

Concerning the need for an expanded presence in Coweta and the emerging job market dependent on technical college degree programs, Cook said that over the next 10 years it is estimated that 80 percent of the jobs will require some form of technical training.

WGTC currently has campuses in LaGrange and in Carroll, Douglas, Heard and Haralson counties.

Though Cook said the time frame for the construction of the complete campus in Coweta has yet to be determined, the site plan approved by the Coweta County Commission is designed to lead to the construction of six additional classroom buildings at 20,000 square feet each and an 11,500-square-foot maintenance operations building. The site plan also open space with trails, sports courts and 688 parking spaces.

At its completion the school will have a student capacity of approximately 2,200, Cook said.

System-wide, WGTC currently operates a School of Arts & Sciences, School of Business, School of Distance Learning, School of Health Sciences and a School of Trade & Technology with majors in 35 areas.

The WGTC property was rezoned from Rural Conservation (RC) to Office-Institutional (O-I). Access to the campus will be provided off Turkey Creek Road by a new road that parallels I-85, said Coweta County Planning Director Robert Tolleson.