Big projects on campus: What’s going up at Georgia’s colleges

From research centers to green space, find out what’s under constuction
Georgia State's greenway

Photograph by Sasaki Associates, Inc. and Hartness Vision

It’s a law of nature: Every college is constantly under construction. But from street level, it can be hard to tell whether what’s in the works is supercool (a high-tech lab? a rec center?) or downright dull (another parking garage?). Here’s a tour of some of the more exciting projects underway on Georgia campuses.

Georgia State University
A Campus Green—in the Heart of Downtown Atlanta
Georgia State’s “concrete campus” will become more verdant as GSU demolishes eighty-year-old Kell Hall (the parking garage repurposed decades ago for classrooms) to create a large lawn in the center of campus, part of a green corridor connecting Woodruff Park to the courtyard at the Petit Science Center on Decatur Street. The greenway, which will weave throughout GSU, is one element in the university’s new campus master plan. In his October 2013 state-of-the-university address, GSU president Mark Becker conceded the “significant” shortcomings of the urban layout: “too much density and concrete and not enough green and open space.” The new greenway, he said, will create a better environment in which to work and learn. Plus, it will make GSU’s downtown neighbors happy.

Georgia Institute of Technology
Life Sciences + Engineering = interdisciplinary space 
Students from science, engineering, and computing will join forces later this year in Georgia Tech’s $113 million Engineered BioSystems Building. The 220,000-square-foot biotechnology research center on Tenth Street will provide an interdisciplinary space for students and professors whose work and studies merge life sciences with engineering.

State-of-the-art labs—supporting genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, bioinformatics, and nanomedicine—and research space will expand Tech’s biomedical research capabilities. The school also plans to use the facility to enhance its partnerships with researchers at local institutions, including Emory University Hospital and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Emory University
A Space to Emphasize Pediatric Research
Opened last year, Emory’s $90 million Health Sciences Research Building on Haygood Drive was paid for entirely by donations.

Research conducted in the 200,000-square-foot, five-story building will include new drug development, cancer, human genetics, biomedical engineering, and vaccines and immunology.

More than half of the space will be dedicated to pediatric work through the Emory-Children’s Pediatric Center, a partnership between the university and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

A two-story bridge connects the research building to the Emory-Children’s Center. The bridge will be home to investigators focusing on informatics, clinical studies, and research on outcomes and public health.

During construction, as well as demolition of the dorm that formerly stood on the site, more than 18,000 tons of waste were recycled. That’s 98 percent of all construction waste generated by the project.

University of Georgia
Creatures Great and Small
UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine is constructing a $97.7 million Veterinary Medical Learning Center less than three miles from its existing—but very dated—veterinary hospital, which treats more than 20,000 in-house patients each year, ranging from seriously ill family pets to zoo animals and wild critters.

Set to open next year, the 300,000-square-foot center will house an academics building and teaching hospital along with other facilities—including twelve operating rooms, three high-tech surgical suites, a covered arena where clinicians can evaluate horses, and grieving rooms for people who have lost their pets.

The project incorporates energy-saving features and earth-friendly materials. An old barn on the property was taken apart by the UGA Material Reuse Program, and its materials salvaged for projects in the greater Athens area.

Georgia Southern University
Gearing Up to Get Its Game On
Georgia Southern is upping its game as the Eagles move into the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) this year and start playing in the Sun Belt Conference. The school broke ground last summer on a $10 million Football Operations Center in the east end zone of existing Allen E. Paulson Stadium. In addition to 6,200 seats, the 50,000-square-foot center will include workout facilities, offices, and a hall of fame.

Although the Football Operations Center is privately funded, students voted to pay a $75 fee to bankroll the move to FBS and a $25 fee for the stadium expansion.

Valdosta State University 
Preparation for Changing Healthcare
Valdosta State’s Health Sciences and Business Administration building will allow the school to expand existing programs and develop new master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing, speech and language pathology, and social work.

 The 140,000-square-foot, $32 million facility will centrally house six programs currently scattered throughout campus. The programs are nursing and health sciences, communication sciences and disorders, athletic training, exercise physiology, social work, and healthcare administration.

The facility will include a cutting-edge simulation center so students can replicate “real patient encounters.” It also will have space for clinical practice and outreach.

Rec Center Rumble 
This year Kennesaw State University and Middle Georgia State College both debut spiffy new student recreation centers. How do they stack up?

  Kennesaw StateMiddle Georgia State
End of 2014 
Spring 2014
Size$38.7 million$21.5 million
Cost176,000 square feet (more than triple the size of the current student center)82,500 square feet
Features includeRock climbing wall, indoor track, outdoor basketball court and four indoor courts, eight tennis courts, weight and fitness area, sand volleyball courts, and two pools (one indoors for competition, one outdoors for recreation)Bowling alley; pool; fitness areas; basketball, volleyball, and racquetball courts; video game rooms; indoor walking track
BackstoryWill be named the Dr. Betty L. Siegel Student Recreation and Activities Center in honor of KSU’s president emeritus, who led the university for a quarter century—overseeing its transformation from a commuter college to one of the state’s largest schools, with a growing traditional student populationStudents asked for it. Student government at Macon State University began pushing for an updated fitness and rec center well before the school merged with Middle Georgia College in 2013.
How it’s paid for?Student fees and bonds issued through the KSU Foundation and the Development Authority of Cobb CountyStudents voted on a special fee; those in Macon will pay $140 a semester; Warner Robins students, $40.

This article originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.