Georgia Gwinnett College has broken ground for its critically needed, $30 million Allied Health and Sciences Building. About 250 people attended a March 8 ceremony celebrating the milestone.
“We thank Governor Nathan Deal, our state legislators, the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents, and Chancellor Hank Huckaby for making this building possible,” said GGC President Daniel J. Kaufman. “At this stage in the college’s growth, this structure is critical to serving the needs of our expanding enrollment and helping us prepare for the future.”
Now, Georgia Gwinnett can move forward with plans for growth of its School of Science and Technology, as well as its new School of Health Sciences.
“When Georgia Gwinnett was established, the college made a commitment to the Gwinnett community to provide a baccalaureate degree in nursing, as well as other allied health programs, and to serve the growing health care needs of Gwinnett, as well as the state,” said Diane White, dean of the School of Health Sciences. “This building makes these proposed programs possible.”
GGC recently hired Sharon Grason as its director of nursing. She is currently working to develop the proposed program, which will be based in the new building when it opens for the 2014 fall semester. The new facility cannot come soon enough for Thomas Mundie, dean of the School of Science and Technology.
“The number of STEM majors at GGC is increasing at a greater rate than GGC’s overall growth,” he said. “The college’s enrollment grew an impressive 22 percent from the fall of 2011 to the fall of 2012, yet the number of students majoring in STEM disciplines grew by 30 percent.”
Without this building, Georgia Gwinnett’s growth would have been restricted due to lack of space. Now enrolling about 9,400 students, the college’s ability to continue its growth is important not only to the Gwinnett area, but to the state.
“Our access mission and location in Gwinnett position GGC to absorb a significant percentage of the USG’s projected system-wide increase of 100,000 additional students by the year 2020,” Kaufman said. “Georgia Gwinnett will continue growing dramatically for the next several years to meet that goal and ensure that the state has the educated and skilled workforce it needs for the future.”
The three-story, 91,000-sq. ft. structure will provide a large variety of facilities for the college, including three physics laboratories, six biology laboratories, seven chemistry laboratories, four anatomy and physiology laboratories, and one lab each for psychology, exercise science, IT systems and digital media.
The proposed nursing and other allied health programs will be supported by a state-of-the-art simulation learning center with a central control room equipped with wireless technology for managing patient bed simulations. It also will contain a 14-bed patient care/clinical practice laboratory.
In addition, the building will contain three classrooms, eight student study/commons areas, 36 faculty offices and two dean office suites for school-level administrative staffs and support services.
The structure will feature similar architecture as other campus buildings facing the central lawn, including an exterior of brick and metal and a three-story atrium and glass curtain wall.
“This building is more than just some brick and paint," said ceremony speaker Heather Pathak, a GGC biology major planning to go to medical school. "It gives you all the opportunity to be everything you want to be -- everything you dream to be. Students, you all deserve the best facilities and committed staff to help you along your journey. This is something I can guarantee you will find plenty of here at GGC."
“While this building is key to the growth of two of GGC’s schools, it is important to remember that it will serve the entire student body,” said Stas Preczewski, vice president for Academic and Student Affairs. “Many of our students will take courses that will be provided within its walls for years to come.”