What is now Columbus Technical College opened its doors on December 1, 1961, with seven instructors and 39 students enrolled in eight different programs. It operated as a unit of the Muscogee County School District as the Columbus Area Vocational-Technical School. Growth began immediately, when in 1966, the institution was merged with the Muscogee Area Vocational-Technical School. Expansion came soon thereafter with a $500,000 addition completed at the Manchester Expressway facility in July 1967, enabling the school to offer students more courses.
On December 12, 1972, the stature of Columbus Area Vocational-Technical School grew when it received formal accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The 1970s saw significant growth when an expansion of $2.6 million in 1977 more than doubled floor space, enabling the School to better serve the needs of the changing community.
Recognizing the School’s excellence in 1981, the state selected it as one of only three technical schools in Georgia to pilot engineering-technology programs offering an Associate Degree in Applied Technology. The year 1985 saw another expansion of $6.8 million, allowing the campus to grow, to offer additional courses, and to consolidate on what is now the main campus.
In 1985, technical education became even more professional with the creation of a State Board of Postsecondary Education. Control of the Columbus Area Vocational-Technical School was officially transferred to the State Board on July 1, 1987.
In August 1985, the state recognized 25 years of continued progress by renaming the School as Columbus Technical Institute to be part of a state-wide network of technical schools. Consolidation of the mission of technical education was embodied when the State Board was renamed the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education on July 1, 1988.
Progress continued when a new library was completed in September 1996.
In May 2000, with the passage of the Education Reform Act (House Bill 1187), Columbus Technical Institute was renamed Columbus Technical College.
From its inception, programmatic growth—to meet the needs of citizens, business, and industry—has been the College objective. The pattern of growth is demonstrated by the fact that since the first associate degree, the College has added the following associate degree programs: Accounting, Automotive Technology, Biology, Business Studies, Criminal Justice, Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Drafting Technology, Early Childhood Care and Education, General Studies, Health Information Technology, Health Sciences, Industrial Systems Technology, Machine Tool Technology, Management and Supervisory Development, Computer Support Specialist, Nursing (RN), Networking Specialist, Paralegal Studies, Pharmacy Technology, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Care Technology, Surgical Technology, and Technical Studies.
The College began a complete renovation of the North Building in June 2003 and completed it in October 2004 at a cost of $2.1 million.
In October 2003, the North Building was renamed Carl Patrick Hall to honor Carl L. Patrick, Sr., because the land on which the College is now located originally belonged to the Patrick family: moreover, Carl L. Patrick, Sr., was the College’s first significant financial benefactor. Mr. Patrick passed away in July, 2007; he was 88. While his legacy will live on, he will be sorely missed by the Columbus Technical College family.
Future expansion of Columbus Technical College is in the works. Twenty-seven acres adjacent to the north side of the campus was purchased with the strong support of area legislators who obtained $2 million from the State’s supplemental budget in 2001. Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue approved $16.28 million in state funding toward the improvement of the property in the 2008 budget. The first capital campaign benefiting Columbus Technical College, Tomorrow’s Workforce… Today, has resulted in an additional $10 M in private funds to be added to the project. This is the first public-private partnership venture among the Technical College System of Georgia colleges and serves as a model for the system. The largest donor, Dr. Robert L. Wright, Jr., contributed in excess of one million dollars to the campaign and helped secure funds totaling over two million dollars.
The cornerstone building, the Robert L. Wright, Jr. Health Sciences Center, opened in October of 2010 and is a state-of-the-art health sciences complex. This facility will allow Columbus Technical College to educate and train hundreds more healthcare students while freeing up space for other programs in existing buildings. Development of the remaining acreage is underway to prepare for future growth.
Today and always, Columbus Technical College will anticipate and respond to the community’s educational and workforce training needs in order to guarantee that the region’s businesses and its citizens prosper.