With a crowd of over 150 guests, Southern Crescent Technical College (SCTC) hosted a groundbreaking celebration on April 26, 2017 for the new Education and Training Complex at Ellis Crossing.
The Education and Training Complex was made possible through funds raised in the 2008 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) for Spalding County. In 2015, the property was purchased and work on the redesign began shortly thereafter.
Architects redesigned the nearly 45,000 square feet which consisted of an abandoned grocery store and several retail locations adjacent to the Griffin Campus to house the SCTC Film Technology programs, classrooms and labs. Demolition began in early March and construction is planned to be completed near the end of 2017. The first classes will be held in the space Spring Semester 2018.
"It's our hope that you are as excited as we are about this project," said SCTC Foundation Chairman Jack Smith. "Thankfully, it's underway. It's been a long time coming."
Griffin Mayor Rodney McCord, who lightheartedly praised the city of Griffin for doing a superb job being in charge of the weather and said the new SCTC building at Ellis Crossing has been an eyesore for a number of years, and seeing it now get a new look "makes us proud."
"You can't find weather like this is California," said Georgia Film Academy Executive Director Jeff Stepakoff in reference to McCord's remarks before describing the impact of the film industry on the economy in Georgia.
Stepakoff said Georgia ranks in the top 3 film and television production centers in the United States and in the top 5 in the world. About 6,000 students were trying to get one of the 194 spots when classes at the Georgia Film Academy first started in January 2016. Today, he added, there are 12 major studio complexes all over the state.
"It's really a remarkable narrative," said Stepakoff, pointing out that the economic activity in Georgia through the filming industry increased from $242 million in 2007 to $7.2 billion in 2015.
Southern Crescent Technical College President, Dr. Alvetta Thomas stated, “A project of this magnitude with multiple partners requires much planning and collaboration. We are beyond excited to finally see the construction underway on this important asset to our community. We cannot thank the citizens of Griffin and Spalding County enough for creating this opportunity for our students and our community, for they will be the true winner with this addition.”
Thomas thanked the college's previous president, Randall Peters, for his foresight and hard work that started the connection between Southern Crescent Tech and the Georgia film industry.
"The film industry will continue to grow in Georgia," said Thomas. "With this complex, we intend to remain a strong economic partner for the communities we serve. It's an exciting event today, and I'm proud to be the president of Southern Crescent Technical College."
The Education and Training Complex at Ellis Crossing has been a collaborative project many years in the making between Southern Crescent Technical College, Southern Crescent Technical College Foundation, and the governments and citizens of the City of Griffin and Spalding County. In addition, Southern Crescent Technical College is one of a select few partner schools offering Georgia Film Academy courses which will be taught at this new location.
"Our impact in the community is stronger than ever," Thomas said. "Southern Crescent Technical College has a rich legacy, and the Griffin campus is a vital part of that legacy."
Prior to stakeholders and elected officials actually breaking ground on the new complex, Scott Swafford, chairman of the SCTC Board of Directors, addressed those in attendance as he delivered his closing remarks.
"What an exciting day! Throughout the years, I've seen a lot of things change in Spalding County, both for the good and the bad. This is certainly something to be proud of," said Swafford. "These things that you see today have been a long time in the making. We are plowing grounds and planting seeds and things like this don't happen without you and your support."