VALDOSTA -- Like a day at the spa, you can get a pedicure, a manicure, a haircut, perm, facials and now the newest in beauty treatments, a microdermabrasion process that gives you a youthful appearance.

Go around the corner and get your teeth cleaned or X-rayed.

If you're lucky, you can get the tires on your car rotated.

Non-profit groups can take advantage of discounted printing or drafting services.

It's like a one-stop shopping center for services with an added bonus of being fairly inexpensive.

It's your friendly, neighborhood technical school, in this case, Valdosta Technical College.

Be forewarned that the services are performed by students in training.

"They're supervised, but the students do all the work," said Carol Jeter, cosmetology program coordinator. "We do everything, like

a full-service beauty salon."

The list includes haircuts, permanents, hair color, shampoo set and blow-dry services, braiding, manicures, pedicures, eyebrow waxing, etc. They are a lot cheaper than the retail price.

Haircuts run $5, permanents $25 and color treatments $12 to $20. Some private salons charge upwards of $80 for color treatment and cut. Val-Tech charges $25 for microabrasions, which cost $65 to $85 in private salons.

"That's quite a discount, " Jeter said.

Val-Tech's dental program provides cleaning, X-ray, fluoride and oral cancer screening for $25, about $100 less than offered in most dentists' offices.

"It's really, really a good deal," said Reneei Graham, director of Val-Tech's dental program. "We charge to cover supplies and materials.

"We do everything to help prevent dental disease. We do absolutely no restorative work: no bridges, crown, fillings."

The dental students also have the opportunity to help indigent clients at Lowndes Associated Ministries to People (LAMP) one day a month, and they go into the public elementary schools to perform screenings. Qualified elementary students then are given sealants that help prevent tooth decay on new molars in young children.

To avoid irritating dentists who may sense the competition, the dental program does not advertise its bleaching services, which cost $175 compared to $400 and more at private dental offices, Graham said.

The automotive repair and collision repair shops at Val-Tech are keenly aware of that sort of criticism, so the two departments don't advertise at all.

"We're not soliciting customers because it causes a conflict," said Steve Bilger, automotive technology coordinator. "We put a lot of our people to work at the dealers, and they consider us competition."

The department needs automobiles for the students to get hands-on training. Bilger takes appointments on Monday mornings for the rest of the week, and the services performed are based on whether students are at that chapter of the course.

"If I don't have a student in front-end alignments at the time, I can't do it," Bilger said.

For those lucky enough to get a spot -- Val-Tech students and faculty get first dibs -- the cost for an alignment is $20, compared to $40 in professional shops. Wheel-balancing runs $4 a tire, compared to $12 or so elsewhere.

Don't expect any kind of warranty, he said, because students are doing the work.

The collision repair shop similarly is not widely available to the public because students can't work on any cars subject to an insurance claim. That puts most potential clients off-limits, said Dan Brown, automobile collision program coordinator.

The wrecked cars they do take in could take up to a year to fix. The department stays away from paint repair that might come from a scratch or dent, although students are taught the basics of painting, Brown said.

The drafting and printing programs are available to non-profit agencies, from cities to the Girl Scouts.

Cook County's animal control department needed a new facility to house stray animals, said Mike Kirkland, drafting technology program coordinator. With the help of a veterinarian, students helped produce drawings of the new building.

"It has to be the right situation, the right scope and the right time," Kirkland said, adding that a small fee covers printing costs.

A private citizen simply trying to avoid hiring an architect or an engineer can forget it.

"We're not making architects or engineers," Kirkland said. "Our goal is to create entry-level draftsman."

The Printing and Graphics Department printed the guts of a coloring book for a Girl Scout troop several years ago for several hundred dollars less than a private concern.

While there is apprehension in some departments about appearing to compete with private enterprise, Jeter said that is not the case for the cosmetology department.

"We're training their future employees," Jeter said. "We have a very good working relationship with everybody out in the working world. They're on our advisory committee, and we take constructive criticism."

Jeter said her department hopes to add one more service by next year: a massage training program.

"We've got to find a place to put it," she said. "But that would be so nice."

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