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Construction continues on Brenau Downtown Center
Crews from Carroll Daniel Construction take down part of the mezzanine at the Brenau Downtown Center, formerly the Georgia Mountains Center, earlier this month. - photo by Nick Dentamaro

Footings have been poured for columns to support second-floor classrooms at the Brenau Downtown Center in Gainesville, Brenau University officials said Wednesday.

The former Georgia Mountains Center arena will be converted into a two-level space that will house the university’s expanded graduate degree programs in physical therapy and other health sciences.

Russell Hartness with Carroll Daniel Construction Co. has estimated six months will be required to complete the project.

“With weather not being a concern, since it’s indoors, they really are only limited by how fast they can get materials and plans approved,” Brenau spokesman Nick Dentamaro said.

Construction crews took down part of the mezzanine earlier this month, and the bleacher seating section also has been demolished.

The first class of a new doctoral physical therapy program is expected to start in the first floor of the newly renovated building in January 2014.

Brenau’s expansion is projected to add about 500 to 700 graduate-level students to the city in the next 10 to 12 years.

The project is estimated to cost about $6.5 million, officials have said.

The second floor “will be undeveloped and ready for our next expansion in health sciences,” university President Ed Schrader has said.

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