West Georgia Technical College Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony for New Murphy Industrial Building

industry partners shoveling dirt at the ceremony

From left to right: Eric McDonald (President/CEO, Greater Haralson Chamber of Commerce), Senator Tim Bearden, Representative Tyler Paul Smith, Chet Long (CDL student), Ray Morehead (welding student), Brendan Bowen (Executive Director of Facilities, TCSG), Nicole Dobbs (Regional Program Manager, TCSG), Bill Hightower (WGTC Board of Directors), Dr. Julie Post (WGTC President), Marty Smith (State Property Officer), Mark Foster (WGTC Foundation Chair).

WACO, GA – A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday afternoon to kick off construction of the new Murphy Industrial Building at West Georgia Technical College’s (WGTC) Murphy campus. The event was attended by college officials, elected officials, community leaders, and stakeholders who gathered to celebrate the beginning of this major project.

The Murphy campus was built in 2002 under the generous efforts of Speaker Tom Murphy to bring post-secondary education to Haralson County. Since the facility opened, it has housed medical and business programs, general core courses and thriving cosmetology and esthetician programs. The new industrial building will introduce trade and tech programs to the campus, which currently lacks an industrial and manufacturing curriculum.

“Manufacturing is one of the largest industries in Haralson County, yet there has been no industrial curriculum available here until now,” said WGTC President Dr. Julie Post. “It is our responsibility to support local industries by providing a skilled workforce. The nearly 700 students we train each year in manufacturing-related areas is not enough. We look forward to adding more right here in Haralson County.”

The building will accommodate the Commercial Truck Driving, Electrical Lineworker, and Welding programs. WGTC currently trains over 200 commercial truck driving students and over 200 welding students per year at other campuses. With the addition of this building, 225 more students will be served annually, preparing them for high-demand careers that are essential in this community.

Senator Tim Bearden gave remarks at the ceremony and stressed the importance of technical education for the success of our state.

“In the 20 years that I’ve been in state government I’ve seen how important our technical schools are across this state,” Bearden said. “If a big industry was coming into a county, it was our tech schools leading the charge making sure the training was there for that new industry. We need to do a better job to highlight technical education for our kids to know that you do not have to have a 4-year degree to be successful.”

The ceremony also featured remarks from WGTC Board of Directors representative and Past Chair Bill Hightower, WGTC Foundation Trustee Chair Mark Foster, Representative Tyler Paul Smith, Greater Haralson Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Eric McDonald, WGTC welding student Ray Morehead, and WGTC CDL student Chet Long.

The $8.7 million facility is expected to be completed next year, with classes scheduled to begin in the new facility in the fall semester of 2025. Praxis3 Architecture spearheaded the design of the 45,000-square-foot building, which will feature a 40-booth welding lab with state-of-the-art welding equipment, classrooms, and community space. A new CDL range will also be added. Villa Rica based Caliber 1 Construction will oversee construction of the facility.

The WGTC Foundation recently launched the “Spark the Flame” campaign to raise $1 million to equip the welding lab in the new building. For more information on the project and the “Spark the Flame” campaign visit www.westgatech.edu/spark-the-flame or contact Brittney Wells at brittney.wells@westgatech.edu.

West Georgia Technical College, with campuses in Carroll, Coweta, Douglas, Haralson, and Troup counties and class sites in Heard and Meriwether counties, offers more than 120 associate degree, diploma, and technical certificate programs of study. A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, West Georgia Tech is one of the largest of the state’s 22 technical colleges. For more information, please visit www.westgatech.edu.

 

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