Part II of ‘Why we’re excited about 2018.’ Today: Latest growth at Georgia Highlands College’s Bartow campus.
The “new” campus of Georgia Highlands College, off Ga. 20 near the Lowe’s/Walmart center, is anything but new. The first building opened in 2005 followed by a second structure in 2012. As its 13th year begins, Highlands is showing no signs of slowing down.
Phase three, in construction terms, seems to be flying together. (You can watch it grow by clicking http://bit.ly/2vnSHK3).
This addition will be different in many aways, including its primary focus. What to expect: An academic building “focused on STEAM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) areas of study — that is, science, technology, engineering, art and math. It will house laboratories, classrooms, a lecture hall, study rooms and additional needs.
GHC received a total $22.5 million in state funding to advance the project. It breaks down this way — $2.2 for design, $17.7 for construction and $2.6 for equipment.
- It arrives roughly six years after the opening of a 55,000-square-foot building that is home to student recreation services, a cafe, study areas, a large indoor track and a meeting center that can host 150 people. The $18 million addition opened in time for the 2012-13 school year.
- The first building on the 50-acre campus, covering 100,000 square feet, opened in 2005 amid promises of quick, purposeful growth to match student needs. The projected building cost at the time: Nearly $16 million.
- There is still plenty of room for additional growth on the site and some of the master plans we’ve seen include possible residential space as well as more student services buildings.
We we’re excited: This is another critical option for local students who want to continue their education, perhaps in a more afford setting closer to home. It also continues to power the region’s “silent” economic engine, higher education. The economic impact of the colleges and university in our area doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves. We continue to see new campuses (Georgia Northwestern), new or restored buildings (Berry College) and, above all, an expanding curriculum offering today’s students better choices (not to mention those going back to learn a second career or trade).
Consider this addition to the Bartow campus as critical as a local manufacturer doubling down for an expansion in our market. Same economic impact but likewise a tremendous investment in our children and grandchildren.
How does it all add up? GHC’s total economic impact for 2016 was $149.4 million, up almost $17 million from fiscal 2015 report, which means the college increased its impact by more than $30 million since the fiscal 2013. The estimate includes all GHC campuses, including Cartersville and Rome. More than 1,800 people work for GHC, helping to educate more than 6,000 total students.