Although Gov. Sonny Perdue deferred bond money this summer for the construction of an Augusta Technical College campus in Columbia County, Augusta Tech President Terry Elam said a recent development gives him cause for hope.
"The good news is he released some money last week that was deferred for Fort Discovery," Elam said. "That was a good sign."
Elam said Augusta Tech is proceeding with the idea of a 22,000-square-foot building on a 34-acre tract of land near the Horizon South industrial park.
He said the school is interviewing architects for the construction and has narrowed that list down to four.
A preliminary design for the building was conducted about a year ago, but Elam said the college will delay a decision on a final design until a promise of funding comes from the state.
"It's really one of those things where we're waiting on (the governor's) staff and his decision, which we think should come soon," Elam said.
The idea is to construct a building that would offer both industrial labs and classes, such as business, accounting and computers, he said.
"Also, it will become the central location for adult literacy in Columbia County," Elam said.
Elam said the request to the state for the new building is for $4.6 million.
"It's a wait and see, and we're pretty optimistic," he said.
And if the state funds are eventually awarded, Elam said Augusta Tech's plans won't stop only with the construction of the one building.
"We see this as phase one," Elam said. "Once we get this one, we'll be looking in the short future to expand the campus because of the population growth (in Columbia County)."
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