Construction projects to add more parking, classroom and recreational spaces on the University of North Georgia's (UNG) four campuses are in progress and should be finished sometime this fall.
With enrollment growing steadily, the new amenities will add space and functionality, supporting the university's strategic plan to promote academic excellence and innovation by providing quality learning environments and sustainability.
"Student transportation needs and comfort are an important part of maintaining a high-quality living and learning environment," said Mac McConnell, senior vice president for business and finance, about the additional parking being added to the Dahlonega Campus. "These projects will provide more ease of mind to our commuters and enjoyable recreational space for all students."
UNG will add approximately 245 spaces to the existing parking lot behind the Library Technology Center on the Dahlonega Campus, a project approved by the University System of Georgia Facilities Planning Office in January and funded by parking reserves and general institution funds. Final cost for the parking expansion is estimated at $800,000 due to drainage issues that also must be addressed at the site.
The volleyball court and physical training equipment previously located beside the lot will be relocated; the volleyball court will move to the South Promenade on the opposite side of the library, and the physical training equipment will move to the plaza area behind Liberty Hall. The $55,000 cost will be paid for by parking services and auxiliary services. The parking and recreation space projects are expected to be complete in September.
Also, a parking app is under development to help students identify which commuter lots on the Dahlonega Campus have open spaces.
"Ideally, the parking app will be an extension of the UNG app. We plan for it to be a simple graphic that students can glance at before they leave home to see commuter parking lots marked as green, yellow or red to denote how full the lot is," said DeEnna Walters, executive director of auxiliary services.
Parking attendants will update the information periodically to show which commuter lots have available spaces and provide the best opportunity for parking in a timely manner.
New shuttles on the Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses will enhance parking options for students beginning fall semester. There will be two shuttles transporting students between the Dahlonega Campus and nearby parking lots. The shuttles will pick students up from the athletic complex parking lots located on Barlow Road and runtimes from pickup to drop-off are expected to average five minutes. One shuttle will drop off at the Health & Natural Sciences Building, and the other will stop at Dunlap Hall; neither will make stops other than at these locations.
Another shuttle will operate on the Gainesville Campus, providing transportation between the Student Center and the 373-space Ride Share lot at the corner of Highway 13 and Thurmond Tanner Parkway, which is accessible by Landrum Education Drive.
Also, more than 60 parking spaces are planned to be added to the Cumming Campus during the fall, and should be complete by November. This will cap off a total of about 1,000 parking spaces added to UNG campuses since August 2014. Additionally, due to program and enrollment growth at the Cumming Campus, UNG will lease the top floor of the Cumming City Hall for its Master of Business Administration and continuing education and professional development programs.
Construction on the new annex on UNG's Oconee Campus is scheduled to be completed this October. The annex, which will add about 13,000 square feet to better support this campus, comprises four classrooms, 10 faculty offices, a multi-use wet lab, a learning commons area, an adjunct faculty area, a conference room, and student gathering space. A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for Oct. 22 at 5 p.m. The ceremony will be followed by the campus' 2nd Annual OconeeFest scholarship fundraiser to benefit UNG students from Oconee County.
In Gainesville, plans are underway to locate the expanding nursing program in space currently occupied by Continuing and Professional Education and the Testing Center in Oakwood Building. Pending approval by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, the Testing Center will relocate to College Square Shopping Center in the fall, which is located near campus on the opposite side of Thurmond Tanner Parkway.
The 2015-16 UNG Facilities Comprehensive Master Plan is in the design process, and the anticipated UNG Convocation Center in Dahlonega will undergo its initial design process later this year.