In July 2009 Appalachian Technical College, Chattahoochee Technical College, and North Metro Technical College consolidated operations to form a new institution called Chattahoochee Technical College. The merger was one of several designed to reduce administrative costs and improve student access to programs within the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). The mergers integrated the colleges’ administrations and their local boards of directors, with all campus locations remaining open. The main campus of one college within each merger was designated as the administrative campus, serving as the home of the president’s office, and a provost was assigned to oversee daily operations at the other campus(es).
The administrative campus of Chattahoochee Tech is located in Marietta, in Cobb County. Sanford Chandler, the former president of Appalachian Tech, was named president of the new college. David Simmons, the former acting president of Appalachian Tech, and Ron Newcomb, the former acting president of North Metro Tech, were named as provosts of the Appalachian campus in Pickens County and the North Metro campus in Bartow County, respectively.
Chattahoochee Tech’s service delivery area covers Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Gilmer, Paulding, and Pickens counties. In 2009 Chattahoochee Tech, the largest college in the TCSG, offered more than 200 programs to its student body of approximately 15,000 students, and employed more than 1,200 faculty and staff. It also participates in dual enrollment programs with local high schools.
As with other technical colleges governed by the TCSG, admission to Chattahoochee Tech relies on eligibility and academic criteria: candidates must be at least sixteen years old (older for some programs). A high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) diploma is required for entry into most programs, except designated diploma and certificate programs. Most diploma and certificate programs require a high school diploma or GED prior to graduation from Chattahoochee Tech. Once all requirements are met, students can earn an associate degree, an expanded program of study that facilitates career mobility and continuing education at the baccalaureate level; a traditional diploma; or a technical certificate of credit, a short-term targeted program that prepares students for specific jobs.
History of Appalachian Technical College
Situated at the southern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Jasper, the seat of Pickens County, Appalachian Tech opened in 1967 as the Pickens Area Vocational-Technical School. J. A. Harris, the school’s first president, oversaw twenty-two staff members and nine programs of study. Thomas C. Harrison succeeded Harris as president in 1983; under his direction the school became part of the newly formed Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE; later TCSG) in 1988, at which time its name was changed to Pickens Technical Institute.
Nancy G. Proffitt was appointed president in 1997. Two years later the school became Appalachian Technical Institute to better represent its service delivery area, which covered Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, and Pickens counties. (In January 2009 Fannin County became part of the service delivery area for North Georgia Technical College.) Due to legislation (Georgia House Bill 1187) that allowed technical institutes offering associate degrees to become colleges, the school acquired the name Appalachian Technical College in 2000.
Sanford Chandler succeeded Proffitt as president in 2003. Between January 2004 and January 2005 Appalachian Tech opened campuses in Epworth (Fannin County) and Woodstock (Cherokee County).
Appalachian Tech developed a focus on postsecondary education in the fields of technology, business, automotive programs, and human services. The college also initiated project-based learning programs, which allow hands-on collaboration among students in different programs as preparation for joining the workforce immediately upon graduation. One such project allowed students in the automotive collision repair, automotive technology, drafting, machine tool technology, and welding and joining programs to build a motorcycle together.
Through Quick Start, a nationally recognized program that develops training for new and existing industries in Georgia, the college also provided free employee training for a number of businesses and industries in its service delivery area, including the Georgia Marble Company, which mines marble used in buildings and monuments across the country, and Fannin County’s Blue Ridge Manufacturing, which produces truck bodies.
According to the TCSG’s 2008 annual report, 1,681 students were enrolled at Appalachian Tech.
History of Chattahoochee Technical College
Chattahoochee Tech was established in Marietta under the name of Marietta-Cobb Area Vocational-Technical School in 1961 through the joint efforts of the Cobb County Board of Education, the Marietta City Board of Education, and the Georgia Department of Education. The main campus facility opened in Marietta in 1963. Harlon D. Crimm served as president from 1983 to 2009 and is credited with the school’s dramatic growth during those years. He was included in Georgia Trend magazine’s 2007 list of the most influential Georgians.
In 1988 the school converted from local to state governance and became part of the DTAE, at which time the school became known as Chattahoochee Technical Institute. The South Cobb satellite campus in Mableton, popular for its printing and graphics technology program, opened in 1995, and a Paulding County campus opened in Dallas the following year. The Mountain View campus, featuring programs in culinary arts and entertainment technology, opened in east Cobb County in 2000.
With the passage of Georgia House Bill 1187 in 2000, Chattahoochee Tech became Chattahoochee Technical College. In 2002 Community College Week named Chattahoochee Tech the fastest-growing two-year school among its size nationally. Expansion continued with the opening of four new buildings, covering 100,000 square feet, on the Marietta campus in 2004.
Driven by the number of television broadcasting networks in metropolitan Atlanta, including CNN, Turner Broadcasting System, and Cox Communications, the school began offering courses in entertainment technology in 1992. The associate degree program in entertainment technology debuted in 2001, and that same year the student-produced film Red, White, and Bluegrass, a documentary about Georgia bluegrass music, won three national awards from the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) and was nominated for a Southeastern Emmy Award. In 2006 Chattahoochee Tech entertainment technology students won first- and third-place awards at the BEA Two-Year Film Festival competition.
In 2003 Chattahoochee Tech’s culinary arts program was accredited by the American Culinary Federation “without any recommendations,” making it only the second culinary program in the nation to receive such distinction. The college also became home to the American Culinary Federation Apprentice Program, which offers students college credit for the training they receive during their apprenticeship.
According to the TCSG’s 2008 annual report, 9,944 students were enrolled at Chattahoochee Tech.
History of North Metro Technical College
North Metro Tech’s origins date back to 1985, when fifty-one acres of land were purchased in Acworth, in Bartow County, as the site for a new technical school to serve the northwest Atlanta area. The school, then named North Metro Technical Institute, opened its $8 million campus in 1989 under the governance of DTAE. The school’s first president was Kenneth R. Allen.
With the passage of Georgia House Bill 1187 in 2000, the school officially acquired the name North Metro Technical College. Stephen H. Dougherty served as president from 2001 to 2008, when he left to assume the interim presidency of North Georgia Technical College. Ron Newcomb served as interim president of North Metro Tech from the time of Dougherty’s departure until the merger in 2009.
In 2006 North Metro Tech received accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. That same year the college broke ground for a 56,000-square-foot allied health facility to support the growing popularity of its health care programs, which in 2007 had the highest enrollment at North Metro Tech. Also in 2007 a team of students in the environmental horticulture program placed in the Professional Landcare Network competition’s top ten for the fifteenth consecutive year. The school’s esteemed truck driving program received equipment donations from several local businesses, including Colonial Cartage Corporation of Kennesaw and Mack Trucks, for hands-on training purposes.
North Metro Tech also participated in the metropolitan Atlanta regional Service Industry Academy, which provides customer service training for workers in service sector jobs, including banking, insurance, and telecommunications. Graduates of the academy are guaranteed employment interviews with such area businesses as Blue Cross Blue Shield and Delta Air Lines. The college also partnered with Quick Start to provide training for a number of businesses and industries in its service delivery area, including Applied Thermoplastic Resources, a thermoplastic recycling company in Cartersville.
According to the TCSG’s 2008 annual report, 3,626 students were enrolled at North Metro Tech.