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This architect's rendering shows how Georgia Northwestern Technical College's new Catoosa County campus will look when it opens in 2015. Construction will begin this spring.

Officials with Georgia Northwestern Technical College say today’s groundbreaking on their new $12 million facility is the culmination of years of work on the project.

The new Catoosa County campus, the sixth for the technical college, is expected to be open for classes for the summer of 2016, President Pete McDonald said.

“This dates back to over a decade that this campus was being considered, but it was only in the last two or three years that we have received funding and it has really come together,” McDonald said.

The campus will consist of one L-shaped, two-story building on the 35 acre lot, as well as a 300 space parking lot. McDonald said the large plot of land will keep them prepared for the projected student body and future expansion.

“Typically the first semester you usually see about 200 students and grow 10 to 15 percent a year,” he said. “But, with the growth of Catoosa County and Chattanooga, growth could be faster so we are trying to accommodate for that.”

Since the technical college merged with Coosa Valley College in 2009, McDonald said, growth has been rapid. The school now has approximately 6,000 students across its five existing campuses – a number that is expected to increase to over 8,000 in the next three to five years.

Although the new campus is located 20 miles from another Northwestern Technical campus, the new campus will serve a different purpose and focus on advanced manufacturing. McDonald cited the closer proximity to industry partners Propex and Shaw Industries as a big draw for Catoosa County.

“We feel like we can provide these types of skilled workers in the area and reach into an area that is not being served,” he said.

Catoosa County Manager Mike Helton said the college will bring much-needed opportunities for technical workforce education to the area.

“I think this will help equip our workforce, not just for current needs, but future needs,” he said. “What the college will be turning out and equipping will help us with future growth patterns and the types of businesses we’d like to attract to our area. Workforce preparedness is a big draw for business.”

The new Catoosa campus will be located at the Georgia Highway 151 and Holcomb Road intersection. In addition to manufacturing programs, the school will offer adult education, business management, EMT training and more.

“It is an exciting time for the community, our county has been in discussion with the college for a number of years. I think it’s a great location, great time and great for the community,” Helton said.

Contact Gabrielle Chevalier at