Three renovation projects that are part of the $19 million expansion of the University of North Georgia in Gainesville on to the former Lanier Technical College campus will be open in time for classes in fall 2021, according to UNG Gainesville Vice President Richard Oates.
“Never did I think I would be able to inherit a college campus right across the street,” Oates said during a Zoom conference with the South Hall Business Coalition on Tuesday morning. “It will be so easy to integrate. It will be seamless integration.”
UNG originally acquired the property adjacent the Gainesville campus on Mundy Mill Road in Oakwood in July of 2019. Since then, the school has been busy gutting and redesigning several of the former Lanier Tech buildings on Mathis Drive to fit the needs of UNG’s growing Gainesville student body.
Here’s how they plan to use three former Lanier Tech buildings and what changes are being made to the facilities.
BUILDING 20: NURSING/INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
UNG’s information technology department, which Oates said is scattered across several different buildings, will be housed entirely on the lower floor of Building 20. The department will be getting a brand-new “mega server room” according to Oates, which he said will be “state-of-the-art.”
The nursing program will be on the top floor of the building and will receive several new simulation labs that will allow nursing students to have hospital-like experiences in controlled settings, according to school officials. There will be 16 simulation labs, set up to resemble hospital rooms, as opposed to the four the nursing program currently has on the Gainesville campus. Each lab will include recording equipment, so students can be taped and their performance evaluated by professors.
Building 20 will also include several classrooms, which Oates referred to as technology-enhanced academic learning, or TEAL, classrooms. These rooms will be equipped with 12 to 14 stations, each containing a screen that students can interact with and professors can provide lessons through.
“They’ll have their own technology, their own screens set up there,” Oates said. “All that can be controlled by the instructor to increase collaborative learning opportunities.”
Building 20 will also come equipped with a food service area for students and faculty, and several “casual learning spaces” throughout the building.
“One of the things we had identified on the Gainesville campus was the lack of casual spaces where students can get together and work on projects, work on things,” Oates said. “So, we built in a lot of that.”
BUILDING 21: ART/ENVIRONMENTAL AND SPACIAL ANALYSIS/PROFESSIONAL AND CONTINUING EDUCATION
UNG’s art, environmental and spatial analysis and professional and continuing education programs will be housed in Building 21.
While Lanier Tech was using the campus, the building was used in part for an automotive engineering program, which required high-ceilinged lab spaces. Oates said those areas will work perfectly for environmental and spatial analysis classes, which often involve drone flying. The Building 21 labs will lend themselves well to indoor drone flying.
The lab spaces originally had oil pits, which were used for working on cars, but those have been filled in with concrete. Oates said the labs will also lend themselves well to art projects.
“With our arts, they need dirty lab space with high ceilings for ceramics, for painting, for sculpting, all those different things,” he said. “So, we wanted to keep the high area that would have the natural light coming in.”
BUILDING 24: FILM/DIGITAL MEDIA
Classrooms inside Building 24 are being completely redesigned to provide the best environment for film students to screen their projects for their peers.
Rooms are going to be tiered, providing a theater-like experience for screenings. Additionally, the white walls and ceilings will be painted black to keep the room as dark as possible with the lights off, and acoustic ceiling tiles will be installed to improve sound quality.
“Students will be able to look at the films and preview and show their work in a laboratory setting, which for them is a theater setting,” Oates said.
The building will also include rooms designed for costume and makeup application, as well as three fully equipped sound studios of varying sizes.
Oates said the building, which will be optimized for the production and showing of student films, is “probably one of the things that has gone through the most transformation.”