COVINGTON, Ga. — Plans to renovate and construct the Georgia Piedmont Technical College’s Regional Transportation Training Center will soon come to fruition after funding was recently secured through various government agencies.
The Regional Transportation Training Center is expected to be instrumental in producing high-demand, skilled workers for the transportation industry, notably commercial truck drivers, logistics and distribution workers. The future facility will replace deteriorating modular instructional space and will also allow GPTC to provide learning space for adult education students who are pursuing their high school equivalency or are studying English as a second language.
Work on the training center in Lithonia comes with an estimated $11.9 million price tag, according to a news release, but will now be fully covered thanks to the work of federal, state and DeKalb County officials.
“The fact that the federal, state, and local governments are investing in this project is a huge win for Georgia Piedmont Technical College, its students, and its mission of providing an educated workforce,” GPTC President Tavarez Holston said. “We invite anyone with an interest in this industry to connect with us in creating an ecosystem like this region has never seen.”
The first $6.9 million was secured in May 2021 when the state of Georgia approved the amount in its 2022 budget.
In March 2022, Congressman Hank Johnson, D-Ga., confirmed $1 million more in federal funding.
In a congratulatory letter to Holston, Johnson wrote, “It’s my absolute pleasure to announce that the $1 million for Georgia Piedmont Technical College’s Regional Transportation Center is one of the eight Community Project Funding submissions in Georgia’s 4th Congressional District that are anticipated to become law now that the House and Senate have both passed the Fiscal Year (2022) omnibus appropriations legislation.”
President Joe Biden has since signed the legislation. The federal funds are set aside solely for projects which directly impact “underserved areas and foster economic development” in the fourth district.
In April, another $4 million to be distributed over the next two years was secured through a grant and memorandum of agreement with the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners.
“On behalf of the Board of Commissioners and the residents of DeKalb County, congratulations to GPTC on securing funding for the new transportation training center,” DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond said. “A well-trained workforce is a critical component of DeKalb’s transportation infrastructure that will support the county’s economic growth and prosperity.”
The new building is expected to measure about 18,000 square feet. The project also includes renovating an existing RTTC building, which measures about 5,000 square feet. Officials with Georgia Piedmont and other partnering agencies expect to break ground in late summer or early fall of 2022 with students and industry partners occupying the new center sometime in 2024.