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Georgia College holds ribbon cutting for Wellness and Recreation Center

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October 14, 2011

Georgia College inaugurated its 101,000-square-foot, $28 million Wellness and Recreation Center on the university’s West Campus with a ceremonial ribbon cutting Friday, Oct. 14.

Board of Regents Chairman Ben Tarbutton III represented the University System of Georgia at the ribbon cutting, leading a host of dignitaries at the event.

“This amazing facility provides a state-of-the-art fitness and recreation center for our students, which not only demonstrates the university’s commitment to healthy lifestyles but also to ‘green’ construction as a LEED certified building,” said Interim President Stas Preczewski.

The building will open for regular business Monday, Oct. 24, with student registration the week of Oct. 17. Registered students will enter the building by biometric finger scan, eliminating the need for ID cards. Hours for the facility are from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The facility will be open for tours and demonstrations in the activity areas during the university’s Family Day, when the families of students visit campus Saturday, Oct. 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The center features an aquatic center with two pools, rock climbing, jogging track, fitness area, recreational sports courts and classroom and office areas.

Designed by Menefee Architects and Cannon Design, the center will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, using “green” principles, the first building at Georgia College to attain this ranking. LEED is the rating system used by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to certify projects. Garbutt/Christman LLC began construction on the wellness center in August 2010.

“Designing the facility to meet LEED certification requirements demonstrates the university’s commitment to reduce the negative impact facilities make on our environment,” said Georgia College Project Manager Mark Bowen.

LEED features include water conservation, such as collecting rainwater to nurture native landscaping plants and special pool filters that require 90 percent less water.  More than 96 percent of the activity space has windows to let in light and provide a view, reducing electricity needs which are monitored by lighting controls.

As much as possible regional materials were used to reduce transportation costs and to bolster the regional economy.

The aquatic center features an NCAA competitive-size indoor pool that would allow Georgia College to compete aquatically with other universities.  A leisure pool provides exercise opportunities and aquatic therapy.

Basketball and volleyball courts offer space for additional intramural teams and competitions. More than 50 percent of Georgia College students participate in intramurals. 

Classes of Yoga, Tai Chi, aerobics and Pilates will organize inside the exercise rooms.

Georgia College Student Health Services and Counseling Services will move to the new  center prior to the beginning of the spring semester in January.

“We are providing the students with access to all wellness-related services and programs in one centralized location,” said Dean Sandy Gangstead of the College of Health Sciences.

Garbutt/Christman has completed a number of renovation and restoration projects on the Georgia College campus during the past 10 years, including The Campus Theatre, the Health Sciences Building, Parks Memorial Building, Bell Hall and the Old Governor’s Mansion.

ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, combines the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education. Its four colleges – arts and sciences, business, education and health sciences – provide 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, with hands-on involvement with faculty research, community service, study abroad and myriad internships.

Founded in 1889, Georgia College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation with Corinthian columns fronting red brick buildings and wide open green spaces. Georgia College also offers graduate education at the historic Jefferson building in downtown Macon, at Robins Air Force Base and online.

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