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Southern Crescent
breaks ground in Henry


By Melissa Robinson
Contributing Editor 

  Hundreds of Henry County residents cross the county line everyday to attend classes at Southern Crescent Technical College (SCTC) in Griffin where they study a myriad of disciplines, taking classes in nursing, radiological technology, accounting, web design and more. Although a short commute, that ride will soon be shorter as officials recently broke ground for the Henry County campus of SCTC.

Breaking ground on Southern Crescent Technical College’s Henry County Center are Rodney Smith, Senior Vice President, Parrish Construction Group; McDonough Mayor Billy Copeland; Tony Aeck, Board Chair of Lord, Aeck & Sargent Architecture; Kay Pippin, President of the Henry County Chamber of Commerce; Ron Jackson, Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia; Dr. Randall Peters, President of Southern Crescent Technical College; Dr. Ethan Hildreth, Superintendent of Henry County Schools; J. Michael Brewer, Chair of Southern Crescent Technical College Board of Directors; State Senator Rick Jeffares; State Representative Andy Welch.

Photo by Melissa Robinson

  Officials from Southern Crescent Technical College, along with state, county and city officials, members of business and industry, community leaders and citizens attended the official groundbreaking ceremony held last Thursday morning on the site of the new Southern Crescent Technical College Henry County campus, to be called the Henry County Center.

  School officials provided three buses to transport people from Henry County High School a short distance away to the adjacent site where the campus will be located. The campus will encompass 25 acres of wooded property that was donated by the Henry County Board of Education.

  The first building is expected to be completed within a year, with classes to begin in the summer of 2014. Seven additional buildings are planned for the campus, which will feature paths to connect the campuses of Henry County High School, which will accommodate the Academy for Advanced Studies, and Southern Crescent Technical College. The Academy for Advanced Studies is a charter program that aims to offer career exploration and post-secondary options for high school students.

  Phase I of the Henry County Center will be a two story, 35,000 square foot facility that will house general core and pre-health program classes as well as a CISCO networking lab, computer classrooms and life science labs. There are also plans to offer Criminal Justice and Business Management courses at the location.

  Barbara Jo Cook, Vice President for Advancement at SCTC said she was thrilled with the turnout and is excited for the eventual ribbon cutting.

  “This is a dream come true,” she said. “This is the beginning and we expect it will take a year to build it, and after furnishing the building, hopefully we’ll be welcoming students in the summer of 2014.”

  Several official spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony and the presentation inside the Media Center of HCHS.

  Dr. Randall Peters, president of Southern Crescent Technical College welcomed the crowd and made brief remarks. He thanked those in attendance calling special attention to the cooperation and assistance from local governments, including Mayor Billy Copeland and the city of McDonough. “As we were finalizing our plan we hit a little sewer connection snag. We were going to have to have a pretty expensive solution to that but Mayor Billy Copeland showed up with cash in hand and easements towards the city sewer and saved us probably a quarter of a million dollars,” said Peters.

  He also thanked former Henry County Board of Education Superintendent Jack Parish, who he said was instrumental in getting the project to this point.

  “This event today, was really Jack Parish’s vision years ago of having the career academy and the college close by here and getting this land donated so the college could actually have a space here. Communities have movers and shakers but they also have visionaries and Jack we appreciate all that you did to get us here today,” said Peters.

  After the groundbreaking, a brief program was held in the Media center where officials talked about how the idea of technical college education has changed over the years and the opportunities that will come with the Henry County Center.

  Kevin Smith was one of several business leaders on hand to celebrate the groundbreaking. Smith is the Human Resources Director for Toppan Industries and said he has been looking forward to a Henry County campus of Southern Crescent for some time.

  “We’re very excited about this because they will be training not only our future employees, but our current employees as well,” he said. “We’ve been working with Southern Crescent for years and now, and with this campus, we won’t have to travel as far. It’s a great convenience.”

  Smith added that he’s impressed with the collaboration between the government, the school and the local industries.

  Kay Pippin, President of the Henry County Chamber of Commerce, spoke about what a college campus in Henry County will mean for the area and said that the educational opportunities will determine quality of life as well as economic development in the county.

  “Who on earth wouldn’t want to live in a college town? The greatest life on earth exists in college towns. This is one of eight buildings. Do you know what this is going to do to transform the city, our county seat, and this region and what it’s going to do for the Southside,” said Pippin.

  John Hardin, Communications Specialist for the Henry County School District, said that Southern Crescent is a great partner in education for Henry County and said the partnership illustrates the school district’s commitment to education.

  “This was a monumental day for students and residents in Henry County. We are pleased that one of our post-secondary partners is breaking ground in our backyard. Henry County remained one of the largest counties without a technical college campus until this happened,” said Hardin. “This will give students at our high schools, recent graduates in the Southern Crescent and non-traditional students, the opportunity to further their education and hopefully secure a great job in Henry County.”



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