Kentucky officials hope designs for a new Jefferson Community and Technical College campus in Carrollton will be completed within the next few weeks.

Architects, college officials and county judge-executives discussed the need for the new college campus - and how the design process is going - during a meeting of the six-county Kentucky Connected group on Thursday. Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold "Shorty" Tomlinson told board members and guests that the college project has been thought about and discussed for years, but the state just allocated money for the campus master design plan a few months ago.

The college has outgrown it's current location on Main Street over the years, Tomlinson said, and the expansion is needed.

Richard Polk with EOP Architects of Lexington said the firm began to focus on the campus as a whole, but architects now have put their focus on one main building.

The architects plan to present a final concept of the college building in January.

Architects plan for a 50,000-square-foot building with classroom spaces, student services and administrative offices, Polk said. No building aesthetics have been decided yet, but architects hope to blend the building into the park-like setting of the college property across from the General Butler State Resort Park on KY 227.

The building also needs to be up-to-date, embrace today's technological world and be ready for future advances, Polk said.

"We need a building students want to go to," Ken Marks, with the Kentucky Community and Technical College system, said.

Officials plan to present the completed design for possible funding opportunities during the 2014 session of the Kentucky General Assembly, which begins in January.

Estimated costs for the project are $16.3 million, Polk said, but that includes costs of $2.5 million in furniture, fixtures and other equipment and another $1 million in landworks.

The project needs approval - and funding - from the Kentucky Legislature to continue to move forward.

Officials expect a building could be completed in about a year after project funding is secured.

Tomlinson and other officials noted the project will help the entire region, not just Carroll County.

Several students travel from surrounding counties to the Carrollton campus. The college also offers training for regional industries, many of which are expected to have a high retirement rate over the next few years.