Gov. Sonny Perdue has signed off on funding for a Northwest Georgia Technical College satellite campus in Catoosa County, state Sen. Jeff Mullis said.

Mullis said funds for the $21 million project are now allotted in the state’s budget. The state is currently investing $3 million from that fund into the first phase, which is engineering and clearing land.

Mullis, a Republican from Chickamauga, represents Senate District 53, which includes all or parts of Walker, Dade, Catoosa and Chattooga counties. Northwestern’s main campus is in Rock Spring in Walker County.

The 65,000-square-foot satellite campus will be at Dietz and Cloud Springs roads in Fort Oglethorpe. A main focus of the campus will be on the automotive industry, Catoosa Board of Commissioners chairman Keith Greene said.

“The main thing is it’s going to provide great training for our residents to prepare for Volkswagen and provide jobs for the residents of the county,” Greene said.

A Volkswagen factory is set to open in 2011 in Chattanooga.

Greene said officials expect the satellite tech campus to open in spring 2012. Courses such as early childhood development and telecommunications will also be available, Green said.

Commissioner Ken Marks said he’s been waiting for this project to begin since he’s been on the commission, adding that its I-75-accessible location and ability to service the community with skilled workers will be of great benefit.

Marks said officials are unsure when construction of the campus will begin, adding that the permitting process will “take time.” He said Green had made great efforts pushing for the campus.

Greene said he worked closely with Mullis. He said the county needed to provide a large enough area of land, while Mullis represented the county to the governor and others to help get funding or the project. He said he had been working since January, when he became commission chairman, to get the project started.

Article Courtsey of Walker County Messenger