Marrero: UWG striving to make tuition affordable
by Celia Shortt
University of West Georgia President Dr. Kyle Marrero promised that UWG will continue to strive for affordability for students during the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Early Bird Forum Tuesday.
Marrero reported that Georgia’s instate tuition is the 43rd cheapest in the country.
“Affordability is something that we will continue to strive for because we know financial access is the point which can be the intersection of people having the opportunity to succeed or not,” he told the audience at the Newnan Centre meeting facility on Lower Fayetteville Road.
Affordability will continue to be a goal for UWG’s new campus in Newnan, which is slated to open for classes and students in January 2015. The new satellite campus will be located at the site of old Newnan Hospital on Jackson Street, moving from its current home in Shenandoah Industrial Park.
Marrero’s other strategic goals for the Newnan campus include:
• Continuing to serve the region with its existing programs - MBA, early childhood development, general education, core curriculum, and the nursing program.
• Establish new programs in criminology, business, social sciences, psychology, and other high need areas.
• Increase the current number of 500 students at the Newnan campus to 1,200 non-duplicated students by the time classes start at the new campus in January 2015. By 2018, have the Newnan campus at capacity with 3,000 students attending. Will do this with new programs.
Another key to Marrero’s plans for UWG, including the Newnan campus, is how it will economically impact the West Georgia region.
“We are not relevant unless we are players in economic development,” he said to the business owners and chamber members at the forum. “We have to be partners with you.”
UWG’s economic impact last year for the region was $442 million.
“With our presence here in Coweta County, in Newnan, that number is going to go up exponentially as we become more and more partners with you,” he added.
The Newnan Hospital Redevelopment Project — with construction already under way — is a partnership between the city of Newnan, the former Newnan Hospital board, Coweta County, UWG, and the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.
The project will move and expand the current Newnan campus housed at the Shenandoah Industrial Park. The project will increase instructional space from 15,000 square feet to 51,000 square feet in the first phase of construction. The second phase will bring the total instructional space to 87,000 square feet. Included in the plans is a new lecture hall.
The plan calls for preserving original historic parts of the hospital buildings on the Jackson Street campus. The Georgia Board of Regents voted Jan. 8, 2012, to approve purchasing the property, and the Newnan City Council approved contracts to move the project forward on Jan. 22, 2013.
The Newnan Hospital Board is donating all the land and providing about $4.2 million toward the project. Coweta County will give slightly more than $500,000 over a 10-year period. Once the project is completed, the state Board of Regents will buy the complex for $5 million.