The University of North Georgia Gainesville campus expansion project on the former Lanier Technical College property is only a few months from completion.
When students return face-to-face this fall, they’ll be able to enjoy a 20,723-square-foot Film and Digital Media building; a 61,398-square-foot Arts and Technology building; and a 71,242-square-foot Health Sciences building. They will adjoin the Health Services building, which opened Jan. 31, 2020.
“The newly renovated spaces at the Gainesville Campus will provide important space for some of our high-demand programs, like nursing and film and digital media, to grow and expand,” Bonita Jacobs, president of UNG, said. “We are excited about the opportunities these state-of-the-art facilities will provide for our students.”
Ken Crowe, UNG’s assistant vice president for facilities, said the total cost of the project is $18.9 million. He said the only structural work left to finish involves connecting the buildings with walkways, which should wrap up around May to June. Carroll Daniel Construction is leading the construction of the expansion project.
“We didn’t tear anything down, we used everything that was there,” Crowe said. “One of the real values to the state and taxpayers is that we got the space for one-fifth of what it would take to build it new.”
This new addition will increase instructional space at the campus by 25%.
When deciding how to best transform Lanier Tech’s old property, Crowe said the college examined all its programs and posed the questions, “Who needs additional space?” and “Who are the best fit for the buildings?”
Crowe said he is “extremely proud” of Bill Moody — director of facilities and operations on UNG’s Cumming, Gainesville and Oconee campuses — and the project crew for finishing the expansion during the pandemic.
“COVID shut so much of the world down, but we were able to keep this moving,” he said. “Now with opening up this fall, this space is going to be ready. That would not have happened without the dedication of Bill and his team.”
The Health Sciences building will accommodate information technology and the nursing department, and also house a food court. Crowe said the building will allow for new opportunities for nursing students, offering space for simulated hospital training, something the campus doesn’t have.
“Invariably, what happens on a college campus is that instructional technology advances,” Crowe said. “For example, the way they teach nursing now is vastly different from how they taught it five to 10 years ago.”
Film and Digital Media
The Film and Digital Media building will feature three sound stages, a writer’s room, three dressing rooms — including a male, female and gender-neutral space — two tiered theater-seating classrooms, one makeup room, a computer lab with two private editing rooms, one color-grading and sound mixing room and a craft services room.
Arts and Technology
The Arts and Technology building will supply classrooms, office space and laboratories for UNG’s Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis, the Office of Professional and Continuing Education and the visual arts department.