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Opening of Trident Tech campus in Dorchester County pushed to spring 2020

Trident Technical College’s Palmer Campus (copy)

The new Trident Technical College campus coming to Dorchester County is set to open in the spring instead of in January. The campus will be the fifth in the state, joining the Palmer Campus in Charleston, pictured. File/Staff

The opening of the new Trident Technical College campus coming to Dorchester County has been bumped back from January to sometime in the spring.

County spokeswoman Tiffany Norton said final construction plans hinge on approval from the college. Once they're approved, the construction shouldn't take long, she said.

"Everyone is still very excited," Norton said.  

Since the construction plans aren't yet finalized, Norton said there is not a definite timeline at this point. 

"Currently TTC is reviewing the final layout," she said. "Once they sign off on it the project will go out for bid. The bidding and construction will be done by the property owner."

The opening was pushed to the spring, Norton said, because Trident offers shorter-term classes, so the delay wouldn't affect much of the potential course schedule. Spring begins in late March, but a specific month for opening hasn't yet been identified.

Trident spokesman David Hansen said no classes have been scheduled for the building yet, so no tuition had to be refunded nor were class schedules altered.

In July, Dorchester County Council authorized the county administrator to negotiate a lease agreement for a 28,037-square-foot building in the Oakbrook area on Dorchester Road that used to house a Big Lots. 

Since Big Lots moved and didn't renew its lease, the space was open and Dorchester County leased the property, Norton said.

The county is home to more than 20 percent of Trident’s 12,148 students, but it’s the state’s largest county without a technical school campus. Once it's built, the addition will ease the commuting burden for around 2,700 students.

“Locating the Dorchester County Campus in the Oakbrook area will help with local workforce development while simultaneously stimulating the economy and aiding in the much-needed revitalization of the Oakbrook area,” County Council Chairman George Bailey said when the campus was announced in July.

The Dorchester addition will be Trident’s fifth official campus — the others are in downtown Charleston, North Charleston, Moncks Corner and Mount Pleasant.

The school also has training sites in St. George, Hollywood and Mount Pleasant, as well as a high school program at West Ashley High School in Charleston.

Before the building can open, the property must undergo an extensive renovation that will include updating its facade, exterior lighting and parking area. 

Norton added that the most challenging aspect of the construction is data and electrical wiring for the classrooms and lab rooms. 

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Contact Conner Mitchell at 843-958-1336. Follow him on Twitter at @ConnerMitchell0.

Conner Mitchell is a Kansas native covering Berkeley and Dorchester counties for The Post and Courier. He is a graduate of the University of Kansas and has worked previously at the Kansas City Star, Lawrence Journal-World and Palm Beach Post.

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