Georgia Northwestern Technical College completed a huge milestone Monday, Sept. 19, when school administrators and government officials celebrated the opening of the new Catoosa County Campus in Ringgold.

College President Pete McDonald spoke about the newly opened 60,000-square-foot facility, which is expected to be a major asset to Ringgold, as well as the whole Catoosa-Walker area.

“We’re extremely excited,” McDonald said. “This is our first semester here and we’re excited about all of our many programs. We’re also very appreciative of the work our faculty and staff has done. … Everyone works together and our biggest focus is student success.”

Cybersecurity, mechatronics, and logistics leads the list of program offerings available at the Catoosa County Campus, which is the county’s first collegiate campus. The campus is at the intersection of Ga. Highway 151 and Holcomb Road. The $12 million facility sits on 36 acres. From the time of the ground breaking in December 2014, the project took less than two years to complete.

Among those city, county, and state leaders on hand to take part was Ringgold Mayor Nick Millwood.

“A lot of these kids within our community are going to have a much better opportunity at a post-secondary education,” Millwood said. “It might be harder for them to swing it otherwise if they had to travel somewhere else. Just the impact it’s going to have on the community in the years to come is something we’re excited about.”

Sen. Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga also spoke about the new campus and thanked all those who helped get a new campus into Catoosa County.

“This campus being right here is due to a team effort,” Mullis said, “from the local county commissioners, to the legislative delegation that helped get it here. … It’s a wonderful campus and this is going to be a flagship campus. It’s going to be even larger soon because we are going to work to make it that way. Georgia Northwestern is the epitome of an outstanding higher-education learning function.”

School and government officials gathered in front of the school to participate in the ribbon-cutting celebration and then took part in tours of the new campus.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009. He can be reached at The Catoosa County News office at 706-935-2621 and by email at acook@npco.com.