The Trident Technical College Area Commission approved $1.9 million Tuesday from its Capital Project Fund to establish its new Dorchester Campus.
The money will be used for equipment and furnishings for the campus that is slated to open next year in the Oakbrook area of Summerville.
The Dorchester County Council authorized the negotiation of a lease agreement with the college in July for a former Big Lots site in the Oakbrook area. The building, located on Dorchester Road, is 28,037 square feet. Thornley said renovation plans are almost ready. The college will need to purchase lab equipment, IT equipment and furniture to operate the campus.
“Dorchester County is very interested in getting this open,” Thornley said. “And I think everybody is interested, anybody who can take a course there, doing it instead of here so they stay off the highways.”
The new campus will put education closer to its students and make it easier for people to take classes without having to commute as far, she said. More that 2,700 of Trident Tech’s students in the fall of 2018 were from Dorchester County.
Students will have an opportunity to take several courses at the new campus including those needed for health sciences degrees, general education classes, HVAC, computer programming and cyber security, among others.
The Dorchester Campus will be Trident Tech’s first campus in Dorchester County. The college also operates a Dorchester County Quick Jobs Training Center in St. George. Thornley said the quick jobs center is completely utilized with no additional space.
Dorchester County is the largest county in the state without a technical school campus.