UWG solarium to be named after Swopes family
by Celia Shortt
Longtime Newnan residents Steve and Marie Swope are being honored for their donation to fund enhancements at the University of West Georgia’s new campus in Newnan and will receive the honor of naming one of its two solariums.
“We were both very pleased when we learned that UWG would be utilizing the old Newnan Hospital for the UWG Newnan Center,” said Mr. Swope. “We hoped that the old hospital building could be put to good use and benefit the community. Since we both had to work full-time in order to pay for our college education, supporting a school that provides educational opportunities locally was important to us.”
“We both believe in assisting students who may be financially challenged so that they may further their education,” added Mrs. Swope. “We also like to support development and growth in Newnan. Supporting the UWG Newnan Center was a way that we could accomplish both of these objectives.”
The Swopes have lived in Newnan for almost 30 years. Mr. Swope’s background is in revenue management. He is currently a deacon at St. George Catholic Church in Newnan and the president of GWTW Partners, LLC, the company that oversees the rights to Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind.”
Swope’s wife worked as a marketing representative for Oxford Chemical Company, as well as writing data for new chemicals, before taking time off to raise their kids, Matthew and Jennifer. She also worked at Delta in the corporate records department handling contracts.
Renovation work by the City of Newnan to transform the old Newnan Hospital facilities into a new home for the UWG Newnan Center is under way at the old hospital site on Jackson Street just north of downtown Newnan.
A kick-off event for the fundraising effort was held April 14, with tours of the construction progress.
The fundraising is for three main elements of the new campus – student scholarships, facility enhancements, and funding for faculty positions. The facility enhancements include building out the “science laboratories, classroom equipment, and technology, furniture for common spaces and study rooms, and security and access systems.”
On Jan. 8, 2013, the Georgia Board of Regents approved purchasing the old hospital property, and the Newnan City Council approved contracts to move the project forward on Jan. 22. Under the project, the Newnan Hospital Board will donate all the land and give 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 Board of Regents will buy the complex for $5 million.
Plans are to finish the facility in time for classes to start there in January 2015. The University of West Georgia has an enrollment of some 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students in 93 fields of study. Founded in Carrollton, Ga., in 1906, UWG also offers classes at its Newnan and Douglasville centers and online. For more information, visit westga.edu.
The UWG’s Center for Business and Economic Research reported that this hospital redevelopment project will bring $21 million to Newnan during the constructional phase and create 176 jobs, and is expected to generate between $1.4 million and $3.4 million annually in the community.