UWG Newnan opening delayed
by Celia Shortt
The opening of University of West Georgia’s new Newnan campus is being delayed because of new funding opportunities for additional renovation of the former hospital facilities north of downtown.
The new campus at the site of the old Newnan Hospital on Jackson Street is now scheduled to be ready for classes by August 2015, rather than in January 2015. Due to the delay, classes will continue at Newnan’s current campus in Shenandoah Industrial Park for the remainder of the 2014-2015 school year.
“We are going to delay the opening because we want to get it right,” said Newnan’s Business Development Director, Hasco W. Craver IV.
Craver made the announcement at Newnan’s Downtown Development Authority meeting Wednesday.
Based on the demand, UWG Newnan may offer limited classes in mid-summer 2015 at the new campus.
The additional funding includes $1.6 million from the city of Newnan to provide additional parking lots, sidewalks, a campus green, and landscaping. UWG has also identified $1 million in year-end funding to purchase equipment to fully equip the nursing and science labs. This money is in tandem with the generosity of donors.
“The additional financial support allows us to enhance our equipment and programming, and it really sets the stage for maximum growth,” said Assistant Vice President of Campus Planning and Facilities Brendan Bowen. “This will give us the ability to fulfill our original vision and deliver the building we promised we’d deliver.”
“We’re excited about it,” said Keith Brady, Newnan’s mayor, at Wednesday’s DDA meeting. “It will be a complete campus … We want to get the campus to look like the campus should look” and not disrupt it later when class is in session.
According to Brady, the city was able to provide additional money because it increased the size of its loan and has some Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax money dedicated for sidewalks around the new campus.
The building construction is still on schedule to be finished by January.
The project has been a collaboration among Newnan, UWG and community members. Even though these new funds will cause a delay in the opening of the new facilities, both Newnan and UWG are excited about what they will bring.
“Since construction began, we have experienced true collaboration with the city of Newnan and a heightened sense of anticipation in the Newnan community as many UWG supporters have given of their time and resources to help advance this wonderful project,” said UWG President Kyle Marrero in the UWG press release. “As we approach the final months of construction and prepare for transition into our new space, we want to ensure that nothing stands in the way of the progress we are experiencing."
In January 2013 the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia voted to approve the acquisition of the property at 80 W. Jackson Street, the site of the historic Newnan Hospital facility.
UWG currently serves approximately 500 students in Newnan. Once construction is complete, UWG Newnan is projected to have 1,000 students enrolled at the new Newnan center.