Valdosta Daily Times

August 24, 2012

Georgia Governor visits Wiregrass Campus; campus recipient of grant

The Valdosta Daily Times

DOUGLAS — For the second time in a year, the governor of the state of Georgia visited one of the campuses of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College. Governor Nathan Deal visited the Wiregrass Coffee Campus on August 16 to tour the facilities and hear a presentation on the growth of the campus. A crowd of more than a hundred people anxiously awaited his arrival that morning.

Wiregrass faculty, staff, and students took time during their summer break to shake hands and speak with the Governor. High school students from Coffee High School and Citizens Christian Academy, who are participating  in early enrollment programs through the college, were also present to show their support. Business and industry leaders who rely on the workforce created by the college were also on hand to show that they need the college to continue to grow and expand its  program offerings in order to meet their employment needs. The Governor took a tour of the main facility, stopping to chat with students, community members, and Wiregrass staff holding signs in support of the college and its programs.

“It was a pleasure to host Governor Deal on our Coffee County Campus. The fact that he would take time to travel to Douglas to see our needs firsthand is just another demonstration of the Governor’s strong commitment  to improving education opportunities for all Georgians,” stated Wiregrass President Dr. Ray Perren. “We appreciate the strong support we receive from business and industry leaders, many of who shared with Governor Deal their personal beliefs on the importance  of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College to their organizations.”

The Wiregrass Coffee Campus was also the recipient of a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) to purchase a mobile unit.  Acting State USDA Director Quinton Robinson, along with Governor Deal, presented Dr.  Ray Perren with a check for $42,000 to replace an older modular unit on the campus that is currently used by the nursing program.  In response to the grant award Dr. Perren stated “We appreciate the grant we received from the United States Department of Agriculture. These funds will be used to help us continue to grow in Coffee County which in turn will help Coffee County continue to grow jobs.”

The campus currently houses several programs in ten modular units due to a lack of permanent facility space. Part of the Governor’s visit to the campus was to show him the need for a new building to meet the enrollment  demands on the facility. The Coffee Campus was built in 1997 with a small addition added in 1999 to hold approximately 400 students. The campus enrollment has surged at times to be more than 1000 students per term. The college began adding modular units more  than ten years ago to accommodate the enrollment growth. Currently 33 percent of the campus is housed in modular units.