Columbus Technical College – 50 Years of Service
What is now Columbus Technical College opened its doors on December 1, 1961. There were seven instructors, 39 students, and eight academic programs. At that time, the school was known as the Columbus Area Vocational-Technical School and operated as a unit of the Muscogee County School District. Expansion came quickly with a $500,000 addition completed at the Manchester Expressway facility in July of 1967, enabling the school to offer more courses. From the start, programmatic growth—to meet the needs of citizens, business, and industry—has been the mission.
On December 12, 1972, the school’s stature 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 institute’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 the main campus. In 1985, the State Board of Postsecondary Education was created. Control of the Columbus Area Vocational-Technical School was officially transferred to the State Board on July 1, 1987.
In August of 1985, the state recognized 25 years of continued progress by renaming the School as Columbus Technical Institute to be part of a statewide 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.
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. – the college’s first significant financial benefactor.
In the fall of 2010, a state-of-the-art health sciences complex for Columbus Technical College opened on a 27-acre site on River Road. Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue recommended $16.28 million in state funding toward the Robert L. Wright, Jr. Health Sciences Center in his 2008 budget. In addition to the public funds, the first capital campaign benefiting the college, Tomorrow’s Workforce… Today, raised an estimated $10 million in private dollars. Expansion and improvement of Columbus Technical College is constantly in the works.
Today, Columbus Technical College has an annual student enrollment of approximately 6,000 and its service area includes six Georgia counties (Muscogee, Harris, Talbot, Stewart, Quitman, and Chattahoochee) as well as an ever-growing presence at Fort Benning.
Columbus Technical College awards associate degrees, diplomas, and technical certificates; it boasts a job placement rate in the 95 percent range. The College now also offers Adult Education/GED and ELL (English Language Learners) services to its citizenry. High school students can earn college credit and/or complete entire programs at Columbus Technical College through Georgia’s Move On When Ready (MOWR) law. Our Economic Development division has relocated to an industrial park in East Columbus in order to be more accessible to our industry partners. This new facility has plenty of room for future growth.
Columbus Technical College will continue to 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.