The University of North Georgia is looking to implement $19 million in renovations at its Gainesville campus to convert space being vacated by Lanier Technical College.
The new campus being constructed for Lanier Tech off Ga. 365 at Howard Road will leave empty buildings available for UNG to use to expand programming.
Lanier Tech won’t completely vacate its space on the campus in Gainesville adjacent to UNG until January 2019.
But $3 million has already been budgeted for next year so that UNG can begin the initial planning and design phase to convert the space.
The university also has $75,000 allocated for a preliminary environmental assessment and programming study.
Richard Oates, vice president of the UNG Gainesville campus, said there are no plans at this time to demolish any of the Lanier Tech buildings. Each would be renovated across multiple years and phases.
UNG projects its enrollment at all campuses will reach 22,950 students by 2025, a 33 percent increase from the current figure, with the Gainesville campus leading the way. The university also has campuses in Dahlonega, Cumming, Oconee County and Blue Ridge.
“Gainesville by design is slated to be the fastest growing campus within the university,” Oates said.
Determining how best to utilize the Lanier Tech space was predicated on a few criteria: programs growing rapidly and squeezed for space; programs, such as lab work, that requires specialized space and equipment; programs spread out in different locations across campus.
If all Lanier Tech instructional space was stacked into one building, it would encompass just two-thirds of UNG’s Nesbitt building.
Oates said UNG plans to use the Lanier Tech space for disciplines such as geospatial sciences, film and digital media, nursing, visual arts and the office of information technology.
UNG hopes to have the Lanier Tech space occupied by August 2019. The acquisition also provides an additional 600 parking spaces.
“We’ve got a great relationship with the University System of Georgia,” Oates said, adding that he’s confident funding will be made available “to help meet the costs” of renovations.
Demand for new programs and opening space to serve projected growth is also compelling officials to explore expanding the Gainesville campus gymnasium, provide a science building and construct a dedicated performing arts center.
These projects are all part of UNG’s 10-year facilities plan, but does it include acquiring new land around the Gainesville campus?
“Not at this time,” Oates said.