Significant additions are planned for the Savannah Technical College’s Effingham County campus as part of STC’s massive capital campaign.
The school recently announced a $10 million fundraising initiative, and is nearly halfway to its goal with $4.5 million in cash and pledges, said STC executive director of institutional advancement and communication Gail Eubanks. Savannah Tech is pegging $2 million for expansion of programs and facilities at the Effingham campus, including a new manufacturing technology lab and expanding its health care professions offerings.
“We’re excited to be at this point,” Eubanks said. “We’re excited to begin the conversation in Effingham County and how we can collectively put this thing together.”
The fundraising campaign is focused on precision manufacturing, health care sciences, leisure and hospitality services, technology and student support, such as scholarships.
“We want to expand our capacity to deliver instruction,” Eubanks said.
The flex-tech lab for the Effingham campus will be used to teach precision manufacturing skills. The cost of the new lab is estimated to be $1.5 million.
Effingham Industrial Development Authority CEO John Henry said workforce development is pivotal in recruiting industries.
“Workforce development is becoming more and more of a key component of our recruitment,” he said. “Precision manufacturing is going to be key for future prospects. To have a facility here is going to be huge.”
Henry also complimented Savannah Tech for matching its instruction to the skills prospective employers need. The flex-tech lab will be built with input from industries and businesses.
“We want to equip that lab to do what it is your employers need, so we can bring the programs where that match what you’re looking to do,” Eubanks told the Effingham IDA. “We’re doing the same kind of project in Liberty County.”
Savannah Tech also wants to add a biology and chemistry lab to its Effingham campus, in a push to expand its health care professions instruction. The school wants to add an associate’s degree in nursing.
STC Effingham offers entry-level heath care offerings, such as certified nurse assistant and patient care technician.
The investment in a new biology and chemistry lab and the additional course offerings is anticipated to be $500,000.
Effingham College and Career Academy CEO Barbara Prosser said that school would like to offer instruction in licensed practical nursing. There also is an initiative to have students at college and career academies earn credits toward an associate’s degree while earning their high school diploma.
“There are many changes coming to technical education,” she said. “It’s a pretty exciting time. It will give new opportunities and new hope to our citizens, and to the unemployed and underemployed.”
According to Savannah Tech, their machine tool program is bursting at the seams in Effingham, and welding instruction has to be conducted in a borrowed space. Eubanks also wants to enlist the help of the IDA and the community in reaching Savannah Tech’s goals.
“We want to be about making a difference and we want to energize the community in helping us do that,” she said, “so the students at the career academy can find the things they need at Savannah Tech.”