UWG holds Newnan Hospital celebration
by CELIA SHORTT
The University of West Georgia-Newnan held a Newnan Hospital acquisition celebration Thursday at the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society’s McRitchie-Hollis Museum to recognize and thank those who have made the redevelopment project possible.
The old hospital on Jackson Street north of downtown Newnan will become the new UWG-Newnan campus after a renovation being undertaken by the city of Newnan in partnership with Coweta County and the Georgia Board of Regents.
The location of the celebration next to the former hospital campus was appropriate. The late 1930s home that now houses the McRitchie-Hollis Museum was converted from a residence and served some years as administrative offices for Newnan Hospital.
“It’s been a long hard road, but I am incredibly grateful for the University of West Georgia, Mayor Brady, and all those in Newnan and Coweta area who made this happen,” said University of West Georgia President Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna. “We intend to be here a long, long time and to contribute to the vibrancy of Newnan.”
In addition to thanking those involved in making the redevelopment project a reality, attendees could also meet the architect, Hank Houser, and view architectural drawings of the new facility. Among those being recognized and giving remarks were State Representative Lynn Smith, Newnan Mayor Keith Brady, Tom Moat of the Newnan Hospital Inc. board, Coweta County Administrator Theron Gray, UWG-Newnan Director Cathy Wright, Dr. Jon Anderson, and Dr. Kathryn Grams.
Anderson, West Georgia’s deputy provost, has been leading the project for the university for two years.
The Board of Regents of the University System of West Georgia voted on Jan. 8 to approve purchasing the property at 80 W. Jackson St., the site of the historic Newnan Hospital facility, and the Newnan City Council approved contracts to move the project forward on Jan. 22.
The Newnan City Council voted at its meeting in late May to remove contingencies and move forward with plans on converting the old Newnan Hospital on Jackson Street into a University of West Georgia Newnan campus.
The $15 million project to create a new university campus came with several “opt-out” options. Those included getting the necessary funding agreements, as well as transportation and environmental remediation costs. On the latter two, if the costs to improve vehicle flow or handle environmental costs were too high, the city could quit the project.
Studies have shown the transportation costs are negligible and the city believes the environmental remediation costs are within acceptable ranges.
“We are confident we can get it done,” said Hasco Craver IV, business development director for the city. “Council has said we are going forward and will not exercise its option to opt out.”
Under the plan, the Newnan Hospital Board will donate all the land and also 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 University Board of Regents will in turn buy the complex for $5 million.
Craver said tentative plans are to have an early June sales closing with the hospital board to take over the property.