In July 2010 Griffin Technical College and Flint River Technical College consolidated operations to form a new institution called Southern Crescent 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).
Randall L. Peters, a former president of Heart of Georgia Technical College (later Oconee Fall Line Technical College) in Dublin, was named president of the new college. Steve Daniel, a former director of Quick Start, was named provost.
The administrative campus of Southern Crescent Tech is located in Griffin, the seat of Spalding County. The college also operates the Flint River campus in Thomaston, Butts County Center in Jackson, Jasper County Center in Monticello, and Taylor County Center in Butler.
As with other technical colleges governed by the TCSG, admission to Southern Crescent 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 Southern Crescent 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 Flint River Technical College
Flint River Tech was established in 1961 as the Upson County Area Vocational-Technical School, under the directorship of E. G. McCants. The school began offering classes in four programs of study in 1963, and its main campus in Thomaston, the seat of Upson County, opened in 1964. This campus was expanded in 1975, 1978, 1991, and 1996. Directors of the school include Clarence R. Tunmer (1972-75), Leon Barnes (1975-87), and interim director William Anderson (1987-88).
In 1988 Carlos Schmitt became the first president of the school when it transferred from local to state governance and became part of the newly formed Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE; later TCSG). At that time, its name changed to Upson Technical Institute. The following year the school again changed names, becoming the Flint River Technical Institute to better reflect its geographic service area.
In 2000 Flint River Tech began offering associate degree programs in computer information systems, early childhood care and education, electronics, and secretarial science. That same year, due to legislation (Georgia House Bill 1187) that allowed technical institutes offering associate degrees to become colleges, Flint River Tech officially became Flint River Technical College.
The closure in 2001 of Thomaston Mills, the town’s 102-year-old textile maker and largest employer, led to a boost in the college’s enrollment. Flint River Tech began offering short-term technical certificates of credit through diploma and degree programs that were designed to retrain displaced workers from the mill for various industries. Many students received financial assistance through HOPE scholarships and Pell grants. Adult literacy training also became a focal point for the college.
Schmitt retired in 2001, and Coy L. Hodges, a former president of Griffin Technical College, served as interim president until 2002, when Kathy S. Love was appointed president. In 2006 Love briefly left to serve as interim president for Central Georgia Technical College, returning to Flint River Tech in 2007.
In 2005 nursing was one of Flint River Tech’s most popular programs. In 2006, with the help of a grant from the DTAE, Columbus Technical College in Columbus extended its associate-degree nursing program to Flint River Tech and West Georgia Technical College (in LaGrange), accepting students at each of the two campuses to help meet the demand for qualified health care workers in the state. To further meet this demand, Flint River Tech began offering its certified nursing assistant program on the Taylor County High School and Upson-Lee High School campuses during the 2005-6 school year, allowing high school students the opportunity to earn college credit.
In addition to health care, Flint River Tech was also committed to its trade and industry programs. In 2006 funding was approved by the state legislature for a 32,000-square-foot industrial training facility, and in 2007 the college began offering a diploma and certificate in plumbing and residential wiring. Another economic development initiative was the college’s partnership with Quick Start, a nationally recognized program that develops training for new and existing industries in Georgia. Together with Quick Start, Flint River Tech developed programs and trained employees for E7 Technologies, a cell phone battery refurbishment company that relocated to Upson County in 2005.
In spring 2010 the total enrollment at Flint River Tech was 857.
History of Griffin Technical College
Originally called Griffin–Spalding County Area Vocational Technical School, Griffin Tech began its first classes in 1963 under the direction of Edwin V. Langford Sr. The first building on the school’s main campus was completed in 1966, and an addition of more than 18,000 square feet was completed in 1978. John V. Hooper became director in 1979, followed by Coy L. Hodges in 1981.
In 1987 Griffin Tech joined the network of state schools governed by the State Board of Postsecondary Vocational Education (later DTAE; then TCSG) and became Griffin Technical Institute. Further expansions to the school were completed in 1990, 1995, and 1997. In 2000 Griffin Tech officially became Griffin Technical College, and in the fall of that year enrollment rose 47 percent. In 2001 the Jasper County facility in Monticello was completed, and the construction of a 70,000-square-foot technology building on the main campus followed in 2003. Robert Arnold was named president in 2002.
In 2003 Caterpillar, a leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, donated two diesel engines to Griffin Tech to teach assembly training to both students and Caterpillar employees. In 2004 the college, in collaboration with Quick Start, was instrumental in the successful opening of the Caterpillar’s Griffin facility, Perkins Engines, an engine-manufacturing company.
Griffin Tech further demonstrated its commitment to manufacturing and industrial mechanics by opening a plastics technology center in 2003. In 2005 the school’s commercial vehicle operation program produced the largest number of graduates, and other popular programs at the school included automotive mechanics technology, criminal justice and safety studies, and industrial mechanics.
In spring 2010 the total enrollment at Griffin Tech was 5,009.