The Georgia technical college system aims to pick a site for a new north Fulton campus by fall and try again for state funding next spring.
Two Sandy Springs sites are in the running, out of eight proposals in front of the Technical College System of Georgia.
Despite some strong opposition in the community, Sandy Springs City Council split 4-3 to endorse an empty property adjacent to the Dunwoody MARTA station on Peachtree-Dunwoody Road. The city also presented a second site, proposed by a private entity and located near I-285.
Sandy Springs’ competitors are Johns Creek plus several Roswell and Alpharetta configurations that could include both cities and multiple properties, confirms Dana Urrutia, a spokesperson for Gwinnett Tech.
The technical college system has a strong desire to get something built in north Fulton, according to spokesman Mike Light. Thus, he predicted, the board will decide a site by fall. Then it would “probably a priority for next fiscal year.”
The Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce collected the proposals for the eight potential sites on behalf of Gwinnett Tech. Nancy Davis, who chairs GNFCC’s Workforce Development Committee, said it’s up to the college system to release site information. “We facilitated the process,” she explained. “We are no way in a decision making role.”
The Chamber of Commerce is simply interested in getting a school in the area, she said. So they gathered the proposals and helped round up business or government pledges to help fund the school. They set up the ground rules for the proposals including the $5 million in public or private funds that’s supposed to be a part of every bid to trigger state funding.
“All eight [proposals] met requirements,” she said, and were passed on to Gwinnett Tech.
Sandy Springs City Council offered to provide $2.5 million for their Peachtree-Dunwoody Road plan, to be matched by private dollars.
City officials have said the Sandy Springs proposals face problems because of location or the acreage available.
After a 2010 technical college redistricting, Fulton County’s northern cities joined Gwinnett’s zone. Gwinnett plans on providing a new school.
The “state board will probably endorse what Gwinnett Tech recommends unless there’s some issue,” Light said. Then the state board will prioritize all their projects and ask for state funding for the top 10.
In April this year, Gov. Nathan Deal killed a $3 million bond to finance the design of the school on the grounds that now is the time to emphasize spending on buildings rather than designs.
The veto was “disappointing,” said Davis, who said school boosters “understand how the state budget is right now.”