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Southern Crescent Tech breaks ground in McDonough

Photo by Johnny Jackson 
Officials shovel dirt on a 25-acre lot next to Henry County High School to officially break ground on Southern Crescent Technical College’s Henry County Center.

Photo by Johnny Jackson Officials shovel dirt on a 25-acre lot next to Henry County High School to officially break ground on Southern Crescent Technical College’s Henry County Center.

McDONOUGH — Southern Crescent Technical College broke ground Thursday on the first building of a proposed eight-building campus in McDonough.

The 25-acre campus is adjacent to Henry County High School and just off Ga. 81 and Tomlinson Street. The campus, being called the Henry County Center, is scheduled to open in 2014.

The technical college plans to contribute $2.5 million to $6 million in state funding to build the campus’s first structure. The building is being designed by Lord, Aeck & Sargent in Atlanta. Parrish Construction Group out of Perry is contracted to build the facility.

Initial plans include general purpose classrooms to house general core, pre-health program, business management and criminal justice classes. Officials said there will also be a CISCO networking lab, computer classrooms, life science labs and an MRI/CT simulator.

Kelsey Seroggs of Hampton and Jessica Fesmire of Locust Grove are business management students at Southern Crescent Tech.

“It’s good for future students,” said Seroggs, 18. “I like the idea of having a campus in Henry County.”

Seroggs and Fesmire attend classes in the Academy for Advanced Studies wing of Henry County High. Tahesha Wade is their business management instructor and advisor at Southern Crescent Tech.

“This is a great time for Henry County and Southern Crescent Tech and I’m looking forward to this new beginning,” said Wade.

Wade and her students joined the more than three school bus loads of state and local officials and citizens for the ceremonial groundbreaking.

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Photo by Johnny Jackson Shovels topped by construction helmets stand ready for Thursday’s groundbreaking to begin construction on Southern Crescent Technical College’s Henry County Center in McDonough.

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Photo by Johnny Jackson Henry County Schools Superintendent Dr. Ethan Hildreth speaks to those attending Thursday’s groundbreaking about plans to connect the Southern Crescent Technical College campus to Henry County High School with walking trails.

Southern Crescent Tech President Dr. Randall Peters gave the welcome and officiated Thursday’s groundbreaking.

Henry County Schools Superintendent Dr. Ethan Hildreth also spoke about the school district’s role in donating land for the campus project and advocating to build it in Henry County.

Hildreth said the campus is the result of years of work, collaboration and a succession of leadership. He inherited the endeavor from former superintendents Dr. Jack Parish and Michael Surma who worked to get funding for the college.

“All of us had to be committed over time,” said Hildreth.

Henry County Center has been a major push of leaders and community members in Henry County, said J.D. Hardin, schools spokesman.

“Henry County remained one of the largest counties without a technical college campus for its citizens until this point,” Hardin said. “(It) was pushed forward with help from the Chamber of Commerce’s collaboration known as E2: Economics and Education Task Force.”

Henry County Schools also hosted an official celebration for its Academy for Advanced Studies, a charter college and career academy set to open in the fall on the Henry County High campus.

Hardin said the academy, available to all eligible students, is designed to be a central location for students to participate hands-on in traditional career, technical and agricultural education.

The district recently won the Georgia College and Career Academy Project Grant worth more than $3 million in matching funds to help expand the academy’s facilities. The monies are provided through Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s office and are administered through the Technical College System of Georgia.

John Uesseler is the academy’s chief executive officer.

“I am honored to have been chosen as the CEO of the Academy for Advanced Studies,” said Uesseler. “The opportunities this program will provide for our students in Henry County Schools will better prepare them for college and careers after high school.”