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Former Lanier Tech property to undergo renovations in fall 2019

2019-05-13-VisualArts
The Department of Visual Arts will be able to introduce the Bachelor of Fine Arts on the Gainesville Campus once it moves into its new space on the property that former housed Lanier Technical College.

On July 1, the University of North Georgia (UNG) expects to take ownership of the property that formerly housed Lanier Technical College, located adjacent to the university's Gainesville Campus.

"Once we officially take possession, we can begin the process of renovating the facility," said Dr. Richard Oates, vice president of UNG's Gainesville Campus.

The fiscal year 2020 state budget includes $13.6 million for renovations, the second of three phases of funding for the $18.9 million project. Funds for the first phase of initial planning and design totaled $3 million and was included in the fiscal year 2019 state budget. The third phase will feature funds for equipment and supplies.

Renovation plans to address the Gainesville Campus' growing needs are in progress. Bill Moody, director of facilities and operations of the Cumming, Gainesville and Oconee campuses, said the floor plan designs were approved by the University System of Georgia's (USG) Board of Regents (BOR) in April and work should begin this fall.

"We hope to start construction between October and December," he said. "Some areas will have to be gutted and completely renovated. Others will need a little paint and new carpet or some will need a little cleanup."

Construction is scheduled to take 14 months. Currently, the facilities department is marking the underground utilities "to know where they are when we start digging," Moody said.

Acquiring the seven buildings totaling 165,000 square feet for instructional and institutional space is a welcome addition to the burgeoning student population and expanding programs in Gainesville. Five departments and one institutional service department will relocate to the renovated facility in 2020. A new Student Health Services also will open in the space; construction for that university-funded project is expected to begin in late summer.

Oates said a steering committee selected the different units based on three criteria. They were:

  • Fastest-growing programs constrained by their current space.
  • Programs that need specialized learning spaces such as laboratories.
  • Programs spread out across campus that could be consolidated into one space.

Information Technology Services is an ideal example of the latter. Oates said its offices currently are in multiple buildings, but the relocation will consolidate them into one.

The heads of the departments moving into the space look forward to the designated classrooms, new studio spaces and centralized administrative office locations in the new buildings. These amenities will allow for program expansion in communication, media and journalism; nursing, Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis (IESA); Professional and Continuing Education (PCE); and visual arts.

For example, the visual arts department will introduce the Bachelor of Fine Arts on the Gainesville Campus. Currently, it is only offered on the Dahlonega Campus.

"That means our students on both campuses will have equal space and equal access to all of our programs," said Dr. Pamela Sachant, head of UNG's Department of Visual Arts.

2019-05-13-NursingSimLab

The new spaces in the property that formerly house Lanier Tech will allow the Professional and Continuing Education department to build its own healthcare simulation lab.

Dr. Wendy Estes, PCE director, said her department will expand programming, especially in the areas of leadership, computer software and healthcare.

"The new building will allow us to build our own simulation lab for our healthcare students to practice in a real-life setting," she said.

Most of all many will have a designated administrative space and faculty offices in a single place.

"We will have a place that is home," said Dr. Sharon Chalmers, head of the nursing department.

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