Coastal Pines Technical College (CPTC), a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) was established July 1, 2014, from the merger of Altamaha Technical College (est.1989) and Okefenokee Technical College (est. 1965). The State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia announced the merger August 1, 2013.
The name and mission statement for the consolidated College were submitted to the State Board for consideration in October 2013 by the Altamaha Technical College (ATC) and Okefenokee Technical College (OTC) local boards. Both, the name and the mission statement, were approved at the October 3, 2013, State Board meeting, two months after the merger announcement.
On April 15, 2014, CPTC officials submitted the Substantive Change Prospectus to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Board of Trustees. Then at its June 19 meeting, a few days prior to the pending CPTC start date, the SACSCOC Board accepted the prospectus and approved the merger. Both ATC and OTC were SACSCOC accredited institutions. Therefore, the SACSCOC Board of Trustees also approved the new organization, Coastal Pines Technical College, to be SACSCOC accredited.
A SACSCOC Substantive Change Committee will visit CPTC in October 2014 to verify the new institution is in compliance with the Principles of Accreditation in anticipation of reaffirmation of accreditation in 2019. Additionally, many programs hold industry-specific accreditations, licensures, and approvals from various state and national agencies.
Former OTC President, Dr. Glenn Deibert, was named the first president of Coastal Pines Technical College and continues to provide leadership for the organization, which serves thirteen counties in Southeast Georgia - Appling, Bacon, Brantley, Camden, Charlton, Clinch, Jeff Davis, Glynn, Long, McIntosh, Pierce, Ware, and Wayne- more than any other college in the Technical College System. According to the 2012 Census, the combined population of all thirteen counties is 330,603. The main campus is located at 1701 Carswell Avenue, Waycross, Georgia.
Coastal Pines Technical College offers associate degrees, diplomas, and technical certificates of credit, as well as continuing education opportunities, economic development services, and adult education courses. The CPTC service delivery area covers 7,431 square miles in the southeastern region of Georgia. In addition to the main campus in Waycross, the College has seven other sites, one in each of the following cities: Alma, Baxley, Brunswick, Hazlehurst, Jesup, Kingsland, and Waycross. Over 200 employees carry out and oversee operations.
The consolidated College operates over 400,000 square feet of state owned or leased existing facility space with an expected additional 55,000 square feet as a result of the $13.5 million dollar construction project currently underway in Glynn County for a Brunswick campus, to be located near the Golden Isles Career Academy.
The Georgia Legislature also allocated $1 million to renovate a portion of College of Coastal Georgia’s Camden Center in Kingsland for technical programs. And the newest project will be a $3.4 million dollar expansion and renovation project for the welding and computer information systems programs on the Waycross campus. These changes will bring even more programs and training opportunities to the region.
The merger is one of the latest of a trend that began in 2009 when there were 33 technical colleges in the Technical College System of Georgia. Between 2009 and 2014, the TCSG successfully merged 19 TCSG colleges into nine, changing the number from 33 to 23.Although on July 1, 2014, there were 23 technical colleges in Georgia, since then another merger has been announced and is underway. All of the merger decisions have been a result of the System’s effort to increase administrative efficiencies while enhancing students’ access to more programs and instructors.
During the year prior to the merger, former OTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert and former ATC Acting President Lonnie Roberts, in collaboration with TCSG staff, led CPTC stakeholders through processes that resulted in the development of a mission statement, strategic plan, and organizational chart. Deibert and Roberts also facilitated work resulting in CPTC policies and procedures, logos, departmental plans, manuals, handbooks, forms, and calendars, among other resources.
On July 1, 2014, ATC and OTC became CPTC and began using the CPTC identity marks. Students enrolled at ATC and OTC during summer semester 2014 began classes at ATC or OTC and ended the semester at CPTC. The first CPTC classes were offered fall semester 2014 with an August 18, 2014, start date.
“The merger has gone smoothly,” stated Deibert, “because, thankfully, we had the benefit of lessons learned from TCSG mergers that took place before ours.”
“The Coastal Pines Technical College mission,” Deibert continued, “is the same as the colleges that brought about its existence. CPTC exists to support the workforce development and lifelong learning needs of communities, businesses, and industries. Both former colleges, ATC and OTC, have traditions of academic excellence. Both were successful, and in the tradition of the individual colleges, Coastal Pines Technical College will contribute to the economic development and workforce development of Southeast Georgia.”