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Board of Regents approve budget request for Fiscal Year 2017

The Convocation Center on UNG's Dahlonega Campus will provide larger space for events such as commencement ceremonies and other athletic and academic events. Currently, commencement ceremonies are held in Memorial Hall Gymnasium.

On Tuesday, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) approved the $2.076 billion fiscal year 2017 budget request. The figure includes $29.3 million in construction funding for a Convocation Center on the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Dahlonega Campus.

The convocation center will be a multi-use facility that is expected to provide needed space for academic courses, physical training activities and large-scale university events, such as commencement ceremonies, athletic events and meetings.

The project, authorized by the Board of Regents in September 2014, earlier this year received $3.5 million in funding for the initial design phase. UNG has gained preliminary, but not final, approval to site the facility on Morrison Moore Parkway, within the southwest zone of the campus. The project includes partial renovation inside historic Memorial Hall and selective demolition of outdated space, according to Mac McConnell, UNG's senior vice president for business and finance.

"The capital budget request for the UNG Convocation Center will provide construction funding for this transformational facility serving all UNG campuses and the north Georgia region," McConnell said. "Totaling approximately 103,000 square feet, the center will house a new arena, academic offices, classrooms, clinical lab space and building support spaces. The Health and Physical Education and Military Science academic programs will be supported by this project."

The entire budget request is a net increase of $55.37 million, or 2.7 percent, over the fiscal year 2016 state appropriation to the University System of Georgia.

Funding of the University System formula remains the most essential factor of the annual budget request. In addition to supporting projects and programs already underway, the increase will provide funds to meet enrollment demands, increases in health insurance and retirement programs and maintenance and operations for new facilities.

"Each year the budget is revisited to ensure that state funds are utilized in ways that enhance the quality of educational programs and activities for students, faculty and staff," Chancellor Hank Huckaby said.

The request now goes to the Governor's Office for review. For additional information on the capital projects, please see:

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