RCA to open $4.1M public safety wing
CONYERS — Rockdale Career Academy will celebrate its new state-of-the-art $4.1 million 38,000 square foot public safety wing this Wednesday in a ribbon cutting ceremony to be attended by officials including Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.
The expansion is funded by a $2.7 million grant from Georgia Piedmont Technical College (formerly known as DeKalb Technical College) and the Technical College System of Georgia awarded in 2009 and in part by remaining Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax III funding. The wing is due to be ready for students in January.
The two-story expansion will add five science laboratories, including a special forensics laboratory, a training 911 call center, a target simulator, 10 classrooms, office space for local colleges and a conference room as well as two stairwells and an elevator.
“I think we’ll be the first to have an addition like this that will encapsulate a whole program,” said RCA CEO Dr. Miki Edwards.
“I’m just so grateful,” said Edwards. “I’m grateful we got the grant but I’m also so grateful that our system has been so supportive of it.” She said the foresight of the community having the education SPLOST in place enabled the public safety wing expansion.
Edwards said, “We’re so appreciative of the support of the community and public safety folks.”
Public Safety instructor Ben McCumber said, “We’re very excited and we’re very blessed to have this. This is going to be huge for all the students.”
The expanded public safety program will include Homeland Security courses, a law program with a mock courtroom setup.
The new wing not only positions RCA to expand its public safety program, which currently enrolls 260 students, but also allows its Early Childhood Learning and healthcare programs to expand using the space that public safety used to occupy. “It’s a domino effect,” said Edwards. It also opens more space for partner colleges such as GPTC and Georgia Perimeter and also provides more training opportunities for local groups and agencies.
The ceremony will host Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and feature GPTC’s new president Dr. Jabari Simama as the keynote speaker.