Atlanta Technical College 14.8 Million Allied Health Complex
Atlanta Technical College cut the ribbon Friday, December 3, on the new Brenda Watts Jones (BWJ) Allied Health and Technology Complex. The $14.8 million structure is the two stories high and covers 70,000 gross square feet. The instructional facility will house 20 state-of-the-art classrooms and lecture spaces, 20 Industry-equipped laboratory settings, 14 Dental hygiene clinic stations and 125 computers to support the students in health programs.
“We broke ground for this facility in December 2007. At that time seeds were sown on fertile ground. The Brenda Watts Jones Allied Health and Technology Complex is the fruit of our labors and the harvest of those seeds can be seen in the thousands of students who will leave here prepared for high-wage, high-performance careers,” said Atlanta Technical College president, Dr. Alvetta Peterman Thomas.
The college hopes to begin classes in the new building in the Spring of 2011. By Fall of 2010, the BWJ Allied Health and technology complex is slated to house twelve different medical programs, including Dental Assisting, *Dental Hygiene, Health Care Assisting, Hemodialysis Patient Care Technician, *Associate Degree Nursing, Patient Care Assisting, Patient Care Technician, Phlebotomy Technician, Physical Therapy Assisting, *Occupational Therapy Assisting, *Radiology Technology,* Surgical Technology. (Programs with an asterisk are proposed).
Remarks from Ron Jackson, Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia; Vincent Fort, State Senator representing the 39th District; Alvetta Peterman Thomas, President of Atlanta Technical College; Dean Alford, Chair of the State Board of Directors for TCSG; and Morris Jones, husband of the late Dr. Brenda Watts Jones; and other community leaders preceded the ribbon cutting.
Special guests for the Grand Opening included Virgil Fludd, State Representative from district 66; Eldrin Bell, Chairman of the Clayton County Commission, Dr. Evelyn Wynn-Dixon, Mayor of Riverdale; Marcel Reed, East Point City Councilman, Dr. Alfred Schlicht, The German Deputy Consul General in Atlanta; Khaatim Sherrer El, Chairman of the Atlanta Board of Education; Brenda J. Muhammad, Atlanta Board of Education District 1; Yolanda Johnson, Atlanta Board of Education District 6.
The BWJ Allied Health and Technology Complex houses state-of-the-art allied health resources including Sim-man and Sim-Baby human patient simulators, industry-standard surgical technology learning labs, a simulated apartment for training in in-home care, physical therapy patient clinics and balance centers, electrotherapeutic machines, and computerized nursing stations. The building also features panoramic labs, sterilization rooms, operatories and a dental materials lab where students will fabricate prosthetics, such as bleaching trays, custom impression trays, alginate impressions and stone models.
“We are developing members of the workforce for the healthcare community in this building, at Atlanta Technical College, who will take care of many of us as we get older,” explained Jackson. “To work in a hospital now or a doctor’s office or run the equipment and technology that is part of our medical system now doesn’t take somebody who just knows how to give a shot, it takes somebody who knows how to run the technology and has critical thinking skills.” He went on to explain that today’s technical colleges are more than vocational education centers; they are lifelines to economic vitality in the state, meeting the demand for skilled workers in the industries of today and tomorrow.
The Brenda Watts Jones Allied Health and Technology Complex is named for Dr. Brenda Watts Jones, who led Atlanta Technical College as its president from 1996 until her passing in 2007.
For the span of her professional career, Dr. Jones was on the frontlines of higher education. After exceptional service with the Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education—now the Technical College System of Georgia—she was tapped to become the president of what is now Atlanta Technical College. As such, she also became the first African American female technical college president in Georgia.
Her dedicated leadership brought national and international recognition to Atlanta Technical College. Named America’s Best Community College by Washington Monthly magazine in 2007, Atlanta Technical College has the only long-standing international exchange program in the technical college system. The exchange between Atlanta Tech and Felix Fechenbach Berufskolleg in Detmold, Germany, is in its thirteenth year. Furthermore, the college has been the focus of best practices research with groups from the Republic of Georgia, mainland China, and Germany.
On her home campus, Dr. Jones was beloved and respected and is remembered for her genuine concern for students and staff. She consistently promoted esprit de corps and was committed to the entire Atlanta Technical College community. She encouraged every person associated with the college to give their best, and the campus is better and the future of the college is brighter because of her contributions.
Her determined vision that Atlanta Technical College would lead the region in the education of health care professionals comes to fruition with the opening of the Brenda Watts Jones Allied Health and Technology Complex.
Her enduring legacy to student success is the Dr. Brenda Watts Jones Memorial Foundation Student Scholarship Fund, which has awarded almost $15,000 in scholarships to students and faculty committed to lifelong learning.