Oconee Fall Line Technical College
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In July 2011 Heart of Georgia Technical College and Sandersville Technical College consolidated operations to form a new institution called Oconee Fall Line 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).
Lloyd Horadan, formerly the president of Sandersville Tech, was named president of the new college. Beth Crumpton, the former interim president of Heart of Georgia Tech, was named provost.
The administrative campus of Oconee Fall Line Tech, known as the North Campus, is located in Sandersville, the seat of Washington County. The South Campus is located in Dublin, the seat of Laurens County, and the college also operates the Dodge County Instructional Center in Eastman, Hancock County Center in Sparta, Jefferson County Center in Louisville, Little Ocumulgee Instructional Center in Helena (Telfair County), and Transportation Center in Sandersville.
As with other technical colleges governed by the TCSG, admission to Oconee Fall Line 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 Oconee Fall Line 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.
Initially established in Dublin as Heart of Georgia Technical Institute, the school offered its first classes in 1984 under the direction of W. R. Stewart. In 1986 the school converted from local to state governance under the State Board of Postsecondary Vocational Education, which would become the Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE; later TCSG) in 1988. In 1987 the school opened an off-campus aircraft sheet-metal technology program in Eastman (Dodge County).
Additions to the main campus, including a facility for adult education classes and a new allied health building, were completed in 1990 and 1995, respectively. Ronald G. Henderson served as president from 1992 until 1998, followed by interim president Billy Edenfield. The college's next president, Randall L. Peters, served from 1999 to 2010, when he left to assume the presidency of Southern Crescent Technical College in Griffin. He was succeeded by interim president Beth Crumpton.
In 2000 the state-of-the-art DuBose Porter Business and Industry Training Center opened, and that same year, due to legislation (Georgia House Bill 1187) that allowed technical institutes offering associate degrees to become colleges, Heart of Georgia Tech officially became Heart of Georgia Technical College. In 2001 the school's Eastman Center became Georgia Aviation Technical College, which later merged with Middle Georgia College (in Cochran) in 2007.
Heart of Georgia Tech acquired the Telfair County Instructional Center (later Little Ocmulgee Instructional Center) when the school absorbed Telfair County into its service delivery area in 2001. Groundbreaking for a new $13.7 million allied health facility took place in April 2006.
Programs in health care were among the most popular at Heart of Georgia Tech, as were those in criminal justice, culinary arts, early childhood education, and environmental horticulture. In 2006 a greenhouse opened on the main campus, providing environmental horticulture students with hands-on learning opportunities in horticulture science, irrigation, landscaping, and pest management. That same year the college's prekindergarten program was recognized for exceeding the requirements established by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.
Heart of Georgia Tech also established partnerships in the local business community through its economic development department. In 2000 the college worked with Quick Start, a nationally recognized program that develops training for new and existing industries in Georgia, to develop programs and train employees for the Eastman-based Aircraft Manufacturing and Development Company. The college also formed a partnership in 2005 with DELMIA, a digital technology company that donated three-dimensional product lifecycle management (3D PLM) software, as well software training, to the school. Through this partnership, Heart of Georgia Tech became an official Digital Design and Manufacturing Center for Georgia, preparing students to work in the aerospace, automotive, and electronic industries.
In spring 2010 the total enrollment at Heart of Georgia Tech was 1,654.
The groundbreaking for Sandersville Regional Technical Institute took place in 1994, and the institute's first president, Owen Pruitt, was appointed that same year. Operating under the governance of DTAE, Sandersville Tech's first course offering was in commercial truck driving, a program originally run by Swainsboro Technical Institute (later Southeastern Technical College).
Sandersville Tech's completed facility was dedicated in 1996, and that same year the school began offering programs in twelve areas, including accounting, emergency medical technology, industrial maintenance, and practical nursing. John H. Sterrett became president of the institute in 1998, and in 2000 the school's name changed to Sandersville Technical College. The college's centers in Jefferson County and Hancock County opened in 2003 and 2004, respectively. In 2006 Lloyd Horadan succeeded Sterrett as president.
The most popular program at Sandersville Tech in the spring of 2007 was industrial systems, followed by business and office technology, health occupations, early childhood education, and commercial truck driving. Sandersville Tech showcased its practical nursing and medical assisting programs at the 2007 "Taste of the Technical Colleges" in Atlanta.
Sandersville Tech's economic development programs included continuing education classes and certified manufacturing specialist training. The college also partnered with Quick Start to provide training for such area businesses as Saint-Gobain Desjonqueres (a French glassmaking company), Thomson Plastics, and Trojan Battery.
In spring 2010 the total enrollment at Sandersville Tech was 1,020.