Ogeechee Technical College has had a remarkable impact upon its community even in the brief time that it has existed. In less than thirty years, it has placed thousands of graduates into productive and satisfying employment; it has helped hundreds of citizens improve their literacy or earn a GED; it has assisted dozens of businesses and industries in retraining their workers.
The Georgia General Assembly established Ogeechee Technical Institute as a public, two-year technical school in 1986. Soon afterwards, Ogeechee Tech began offering Practical Nursing courses to 25 students who met for classes at the local hospital. Faculty, staff, and students moved into the original 75,000 square foot, $6 million facility in the fall of 1990. By this point the school was also offering instruction in Adult Literacy and in the General Equivalency Diploma (GED) exam preparation. Programs in business, industry, and other health programs were soon added. The school was accredited by the Council on Occupational Education.
Ogeechee Technical Institute’s growth during the mid-1990s coincided with the expansive growth of Georgia Southern University and the Statesboro area. Local support and the establishment of the Georgia State Lottery funded HOPE grant (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) in 1993 were contributing factors in the rapid growth of Ogeechee Tech. The school continued to add programs to better serve the employment needs of its three-county service area: Bulloch, Evans, and Screven.
In 1999, Ogeechee Technical Institute experienced a $5.5 million expansion by adding a Health Science Building, a childcare facility, and a Horticulture Building. During this time, Ogeechee Tech also expanded its services through the opening of the Screven County Learning Center in Sylvania.
The first Associate of Applied Technology (AAT) degree program, Industrial Manufacturing, was started during Winter Quarter 2000, and soon after seven additional AAT programs were offered: Accounting, Computer Information Systems, Early Childhood Care and Education, Funeral Service Education, Health Information Technology, Marketing, and Opticianry.
On July 6, 2000, Ogeechee Technical Institute officially had its name changed by the state legislature to Ogeechee Technical College.
Student growth continued due largely to the addition of new programs, many of which were unique in the state technical college system. These distinctive programs included Funeral Service Education, Forensic Science Technology, and Opticianry. During the summer of 2002, Ogeechee Tech opened the Evans County Learning Center.
With the opening of the Occupational Studies Building in Fall 2003, a wider variety of programs, such as Agribusiness, Wildlife and Plantation Management, Geographical Information Systems Technology, Veterinary Technology, Culinary Arts, and Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Management, enabled the college to further expand its employment training opportunities.
In 2004, Ogeechee Technical College paid tribute to the late Senator Joseph E. Kennedy for his role in the establishment of Ogeechee Technical Institute by dedicating the main building on campus as the Joseph E. Kennedy Building.
In July 2008, Ogeechee Technical College was awarded a Regional Law Enforcement Academy which is housed in Evans County. The project allowed new law enforcement officers to receive their basic law enforcement training and obtain college credit at the same time. That same year, Ogeechee Technical College began construction of the Evans Technical Education Complex. The new complex included the Logistics and Public Safety Building, a driving track for the Commercial Truck Driving program, and an emergency vehicle operator track for the Regional Law Enforcement Academy. Another big change came at the beginning of 2009 when an Emergency Mass Notification System for faculty, staff, and students was implemented. The new OTC Alert system provided a way to send emergency warnings via cell phone and email messages. In an effort to offer better services to the students, Ogeechee Tech moved the Adult Education program to a new location adjacent to the main campus.
In 2011, Ogeechee Tech transitioned from a quarter to a semester course schedule as well as moving to a tobacco-free campus. Also in that same year, Ogeechee Technical College was named the 2011 Technical College of the Year for the State of Georgia. Determined by meeting benchmarks in a variety of critical areas, Ogeechee Tech earned the top spot in the state system.
In January 2013, classes began in the new Health Science Building-North. The Echocardiography, Opticianry, Radiologic Technology, Radiology Picture Archiving, and Sonography programs were relocated to this new building which provided expanded classroom and lab space for each program. Included in the new facility was a modern biology lab and a tiered lecture/demonstration hall.
In November 2013, the College broke ground on a new 60,000 square foot Natural Resources Building which will house programs such as Agribusiness, Geographic Information Systems, and Fish and Wildlife Management. Soon thereafter in December, the College surpassed a major milestone in its history by becoming a candidate for accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and was named a finalist for the 2013 Technical College of the Year award for the State of Georgia.
In June 2014, Ogeechee Tech was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Accreditation by SACSCOC was the culmination of many years of work by the College. It continues as an ongoing process which helps ensure the highest standards of education are met and allows greater opportunities for students who choose to pursue additional education following their time at Ogeechee Tech.
Throughout the years, the excellence of Ogeechee Tech’s instruction has been recognized. In 1999, John Groover, an English instructor, was named the statewide winner of the Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction. Three Ogeechee Tech students have been named as the top student in the state by winning the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) award:
• Molly Bickerton in 2008
• Alvie Coes III in 2011
• Lucas Teague in 2014
Additionally, Ogeechee Tech was named the Technical College of the Year a second time in 2015.
An ongoing determination to provide innovative programs of study keeps Ogeechee Tech in the forefront of meeting the educational demands of citizens in this region of Georgia. With 3,196 students attending classes in 2014, the demand for Ogeechee Tech’s services remains strong. With credit programs, continuing education courses, GED instruction, and literacy programs along with various other services, the College’s commitment to meet the needs of the region continues.