Published Sunday, February 03, 2013
From Staff Reports
Students and prospective students and their families shopping, eating and spending money in downtown Newnan ...
Community leaders are already envisioning dollars generated from the new University of West Georgia satellite center for Coweta.
“Our plan right now is spring of 2015, when the doors will open,” said Dr. Jon Anderson, West Georgia’s deputy provost. Anderson was named as the university’s “single point of accountability” for the project when negotiations began two years ago between the university, the city of Newnan, Coweta County and Newnan Hospital, Inc.
In 2015, the UWG Newnan Center is scheduled to move from its longtime location in the Shenandoah Industrial Park to a renovated Newnan Hospital building on Jackson Street just north of downtown Newnan.
Newnan Hospital, Inc. is donating the historic building and the surrounding property. “We’re just proud to have been a small part of this project,” said Tom Moat, chair of Newnan Hospital, Inc.
Cathy Wright, who directs the Newnan Center, said she is ecstatic that the iconic hospital building “will be transformed into a downtown college campus.” Dr. Beheruz Sethna, West Georgia’s president, described the new center as “a win for the vibrancy and development of downtown Newnan.”
“The benefits of having the University of West Georgia join the fabric of our downtown are far reaching and will be felt for generations,” said Newnan Mayor Keith Brady.
The focus of the new center will be to expand educational opportunities for Cowetans. “We’re doing something important here,” observed State Rep. Lynn Smith, a longtime advocate for the project. “We’re educating our future leaders.”
That focus has its own economic development strand. UWG spokeswoman Maggie Worth said the University System Board of Regents, West Georgia, the City of Newnan, Coweta County and Newnan Hospital, Inc. – which have played various roles in bringing the project to its current status – “all ... are committed to strengthening the area’s workforce through improved access to education for both traditional and non-traditional students in the Newnan area.”
UWG-Newnan has operated from its current site at Shenandoah for 22 years. The main building there was built by the Georgia Power Company. The property was purchased by Coweta County in 1998 and donated to the University of West Georgia.
In addition to core curriculum classes and joint enrollment for high school students, UWG-Newnan offers two full undergraduate degree programs – early childhood education and nursing – and five graduate degree programs – master’s in early childhood, special education and secondary education; master’s in business administration; and specialist in educational leadership.
“Forty percent of the Newnan Center’s students reside in Coweta County, and undergraduate enrollment has quadrupled over the past 10 years,” Worth said.
Officials with the university and the local government and business community are hoping for more growth – and more economic punch from students matriculating at the new site on Jackson Street.
“This is something that will allow a lot of kids to start or finish college right here in Newnan,” Moat said.