Work set to begin on Augusta Tech campus

Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Terry Elam: Augusta Tech president says the new campus will improve dual enrollment opportunities for high schoolers.

Work might start at any time on a long-awaited Augusta Technical College campus near Grovetown, the college's president says.

 

"That contract was bid out in May, and now that all details have been worked out, they can proceed on the job site," said Augusta Tech President Terry Elam.

The campus was approved by state lawmakers in January 2005 and a groundbreaking ceremony for the $4.6 million, 22,000-square-foot facility was held in September 2007. Progress halted when wetlands at the site delayed construction of an entrance road into the 34-acre campus on Horizon South Parkway.

"That's been the hang-up," Mr. Elam said. "We could not proceed with the bid until the road was taken care of."

Since then, Columbia County officials have settled the issue and recently approved a nearly $580,000 bid to build the road, with about $250,000 of the construction cost coming from Augusta Tech, Mr. Elam said.

He was unsure on when the work might start.

"They didn't get notice to proceed from the state until last week," Mr. Elam said. "Remember, the state of Georgia is building this project, not Augusta Tech."

Once work begins, the contractor, Vidalia, Ga.-based Copper Construction Co. Inc., has 420 days to complete the school.

A Columbia County campus of Augusta Tech can tailor programs to meet the needs of such nearby manufacturers as John Deere or GIW, Mr. Elam said.

Also, he said, it will improve dual enrollment opportunities for the county's high school students.

"We see it as a growth corridor and don't see any problems in recruiting students to come there," he said.

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.