In July 2009 Coosa Valley Technical College and Northwestern Technical College consolidated operations to form a new institution called Georgia Northwestern 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 Georgia Northwestern Tech is located in Rome, in Floyd County. Craig McDaniel, the former president of Coosa Valley Tech, was named president of the new college, while Jeff King, the former acting president of Northwestern Tech, was named provost of the campus in Walker County.
Georgia Northwestern Tech’s service delivery area includes Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Polk, and Walker counties. With the merger, Georgia Northwestern Tech became the third-largest college in the TCSG, with an enrollment of approximately 8,200 students. In 2009 the college offered numerous degree and certificate programs, including automated manufacturing, aviation maintenance technology, commercial truck driving, cosmetology, environmental horticulture, and fire science technology. The college also participates in dual enrollment programs with local high schools.
As with other technical colleges governed by the TCSG, admission to Georgia Northwestern 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 Georgia Northwestern 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 Coosa Valley Technical College
Coosa Valley Tech’s main campus was located in Rome, with satellite campuses in Gordon and Polk counties. Its origins date back to 1962, when Coosa Valley Vocational-Technical School opened under the administration of Maurice Culberson and offered programs in automotive mechanics, business education, electrical appliance servicing, electronic technology, heating and air conditioning, machine shop, and practical nursing. The school was named for its location in the upper basin of the Coosa River.
J. D. Powell became director in 1969, followed by Charles E. Earle in 1982. In 1987 Coosa Valley Tech officially transferred from local to state governance, becoming part of Georgia’s newly formed Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE; later TCSG) in 1988. Powell returned in 1987 to become the first president of then-named Coosa Valley Technical Institute. Ronald Swanson succeeded Powell in 1994.
Coosa Valley Tech expanded in 1997 with the addition of its first branch campus in Calhoun (Gordon County), followed in 1998 by the addition of another branch campus in Rockmart (Polk County). Craig McDaniel was appointed president that same year.
In 2000, due to legislation (Georgia House Bill 1187) that allowed technical institutes offering associate degrees to be called colleges, Coosa Valley Tech became Coosa Valley Technical College. In the first years of the twenty-first century, Coosa Valley Tech was among Georgia’s fastest-growing technical colleges; the school’s enrollment peaked in 2002 with 5,197 students. Expansion continued in 2003 with the addition of the 53,000-square-foot Allied Health Center on the main campus, and the following year an economic development center opened on the Polk County campus.
According to the TCSG’s 2008 annual report, 4,480 students were enrolled at Coosa Valley Tech.
History of Northwestern Technical College
The main campus of Northwestern Tech was located in Rock Spring, in Walker County. In addition to Walker, the college’s service delivery area also covered Catoosa, Chattooga, and Dade counties.
The Walker County Area Vocational-Technical School opened in the fall of 1966 under the direction of Dea Pounders. Pounders was succeeded by Larry Little (1970-74), Roy Derryberry (1974-81), Glen Phillips (1981-83), Ed Vickrey (1983-86), Ray Brooks (1986-2008), and acting president Jeff King (2008-9). In 1988 the school became part of DTAE, and a name change to Walker Technical Institute followed. To better reflect its service area, the school became Northwestern Technical Institute in 1998 and was renamed Northwestern Technical College two years later, with the passage of Georgia House Bill 1187.
In 2007 development began on a new piece of land to expand the campus from thirty-four to seventy acres. According to the TCSG’s 2008 annual report, 3,692 students were enrolled at Northwestern Tech.