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Renovations at UNG's Gainesville Campus add space and opportunity

Hugh Mills construction, Dec. 2013
The Hugh Mills Physical Education Complex undergoes renovations to expand and improve its fitness center. Photo taken December 2013.

The University of North Georgia's Gainesville Campus is undergoing renovations to support science education, add parking capacity, and to add space and equipment for student fitness and recreation.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents is providing $1 million, through the system’s budget for small capital projects, to convert two classrooms in the Science Building into a new multi-use wet lab, which will support high-demand courses in the sciences.

"The new wet lab will provide some much-needed space for our growing biology and chemistry departments," said Dr. Jeanelle Morgan, interim associate department head of biology. "The addition of new equipment and supplies will also provide support to our expanding numbers."

The fitness center in the Hugh Mills Physical Education Complex will be renovated and expanded, adding 13 feet in length to existing classroom space, the front entrance and front office area. A portion of the center will be remodeled, and a reception station will be added. Four offices for physical education faculty are included in a reconfiguration of the current front offices, and a new room will be designated as a human performance lab to support administration of the College of Education's sport, exercise and recreation program.

Also in the plans is the addition of new equipment, according to Ken Harrison, associate director of recreation and wellness.

"Our desires include new cardio equipment such as state-of-the-art treadmills, elliptical machines, climbers, and stationary bicycles," Harrison said. “We also want to upgrade or replace some of our strength equipment with the goal of minimizing the number of pieces needed to meet user needs by installing multi-use, space-saving equipment."

Mac McConnell, senior vice president for business & finance, said the fitness center expansion is being funded through general institutional funds of approximately $550,000. In addition, approximately $150,000 in equipment is being funded 50% from general institutional funds and 50% from student activity fees, he said. 

Bill Moody, director of facilities and operations – south, said the Gainesville Campus is also re-roofing the J. Foster Watkins Academic Building, and adding a 200-plus space parking lot along Campus Drive, which should be complete before fall classes begin in 2014. Phase one of new parking lots on Landrum Education Drive is also complete, with phase two set to begin in a few weeks, weather permitting. These two phases will add another 300 spaces.

"We are also planning to add some additional parking at the Oconee Campus in the same time period, which will add 50-70 spaces," Moody said.

The parking improvements are funded by student parking fees.

Repairs to the student parking deck on the Gainesville Campus, which began in the fall and are being paid for by the general contractor, were completed in time for the beginning of this semester. The parking deck reopened on January 6 and restored 296 parking spaces for students on campus.

The university’s facilities and operations department also recently completed two projects at the Cumming Campus, adding a storage area and an outdoor pavilion.

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