The Effingham campus of Savannah Technical College had its ribbon cutting Thursday.
“Ten years and several groundbreakings,” former state representative Ann Purcell, also a member of the state board of technical and adult education, said. “Things have finally come for a dream that we’ve had over these years.”
Purcell said during the 10 years there have been many people who have been a part of the campus and thanked everyone who has been involved.
STC President Dr. C. B. Rathburn thanked community members for being involved and helping the campus become a reality.
Laurie Herrington, campus director, said the day was a start of many opportunities to come for the community, business and industry.
“It is an honor and privilege for me to serve as director of this campus,” she said.
Herrington said she was glad to see all of those who supported the building of a campus in Effingham in attendance.
County Commission Chairperson Verna Phillips said she was happy to welcome STC to Effingham County.
“Every day in Effingham County is a great day,” she said. “There are just so many things exciting going on.”
Phillips said every day she wonders what new project will be worked on in the county.
“It is a learning facility,” Phillips said. “It is for the families. It is for the growth of this community. It is for the employers to make sure that they have the employees to fill the slots we are going to have.”
School Superintendent Randy Shearouse said it was a great day for the county.
“It’s also a great day for the Effingham County School System,” he said. “It’s great to have vision and a dream to see something accomplished. The Effingham County Board of Education believes in opportunities for students. We want to do everything possible to provide as many opportunities as we can for the boys and girls of Effingham County.”
Shearouse said the school system is already taking advantage of the campus with dually enrolled students and articulation agreements in place.
“We’re not sitting by and watching this campus sit here,” he said. “We’re very involved in what’s going on currently. We’re very excited about the future.”
Shearouse said the board is excited to be working with STC on the Gateway to College program and the career academy that have both recently been approved.
Industrial Development Authority Chief Executive Officer John Henry also welcomed the new campus and mentioned its location as key in the IDA’s deal with EFACEC.
“This is what I think is the best location for this facility,” Henry said. “We’ve had some recent industrial announcements here in the county that are going to be located directly across the road from here. I can tell you this facility opening was very instrumental in the decision to locate that industry here.”
Herb Jones said the day was not just about celebration of the opening of the school, but also showing appreciation to everyone involved in having an STC campus open in Effingham.
“My words of wisdom today, if I have any, are ‘I remember,’” Jones said. He said he remembers all of those who helped to make this happen.
Jones said if he was going to talk about the past, then he should talk about the future.
“Remember the past, but live for the future,” Jones said.
He said he hopes in the years to come there will be people who remember coming to the school, and it provided them the skills they needed to further their career or better themselves.
State Rep. Jon Burns said that without the work of many people in the community this would not have happened and 85 percent of the jobs in Georgia require training beyond high school.
“Education in Georgia is about a $10 billion business,” he said. “I don’t know of any better use of my tax dollars than technical education across this state.”
State Rep. Buddy Carter said Effingham County is rich in heritage and tradition, but that maybe the best times were still to come.
“This is an example of what’s going to carry us to that full potential,” Carter said.
Carter said the school system just got better with the addition of STC. The school system along with STC will put Effingham on the map across the state for exceptional education.
State Sen. Jack Hill said he wanted to salute the local leadership in the county for the opening of the campus.
“I would say that this is a historic day for Effingham County,” he said. “We’ve had many historic days in this county.
What it represents is an investment in the future of the county. This day has special impact and special meaning, because we’re investing today in human capital.”