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Herty Hall expansion will provide much-needed classrooms, labs

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November 13, 2009

The expansion of Herty Hall with a three-story addition along the south wall will add much needed space for the ever growing science programs at Georgia College.

The addition will house laboratories, classrooms and offices for the science department. An accompanying renovation of 45-year-old Herty Hall will allow program expansion for the recently incorporated physics degree.

“Providing our students with state-of-the art science facilities and labs with enhance their learning experiences here at Georgia College,” said Georgia College President Dorothy Leland. “These future teachers, doctors, nurses and engineers will benefit from the hands-on laboratory experience and the one-on-one interaction with instructors the addition will offer.”

The $3.4 million addition/renovation will construct laboratory and office space on the first and second floors for students studying biology and environmental sciences.

With the growth of enrollment topping 400 undergraduates, biology is the largest major in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“Biology is a large contributor to the basic science requirement in our core curriculum that serves all our students,” said Ken Proctor, Dean of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Chemistry has grown to capacity enrollments grew from a freshman class of 25 to this year’s class of 42. Environmental science is a timely and rapidly growing program. And physics is taking off.”

A studio lab on the third floor will provide incredible pedagogical value given its laboratory-classroom combination. Lecture and experiments will go hand-in-hand as students utilize the large classroom with lab benches located in the back of the same classroom.

“The studio lab gives students a hands-on approach to learning,” said Dr. Ken McGill, Chair of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy. “Too often students forget important parts of the lecture when they move from laboratory to classroom.”

Renovation on current Herty Hall will become home to the recently integrated physics program offering bachelor of science degrees in physics. Currently 13 physics majors are enrolled with the anticipation of an additional 15 to 20 freshman physics majors enrolling during Fall 2010.

Built in 1954 as The Science Hall, the building’s name changed to Charles H. Herty Science Hall in 1956, memorializing the inventor best known for inventing a method to collect tree resin using a metal cap thereby sparing the tree’s life.

Born in 1867 in a house that was located on what is now Georgia College front campus, Herty also headed a Savannah laboratory that focused on the conversion of pine pulp to newsprint. In March 1933, the first newspaper was printed using paper created with the Herty process.

Herty Hall underwent a renovation in the 1970s and was rededicated after a $5 million renovation in April 2002 to enhance the science programs.

The current renovations and addition are state-funded capital projects. The downturn in construction during the current economic hardship offers advantages to the timing of the addition/renovation.

The constrained economy provided competitive bids. Twelve contractors bid the project. The top two bids were within $20,000 of one another with the university awarding the contract to Dublin Construction Company. Scott Barber of Lott Barber Architects of Savannah designed the renovation/addition.

The original plans included an allowance for extra costs. But with construction prices down, the university could get more for its money, according to Georgia College Project Manager Donnie Beasley.

The final cost could allow for construction of an observatory, a greenhouse and solar panels to produce energy, pending approval by the Board of Regents, Beasley said.

“Teaching facilities need to modernize,” Procter said. “In response, colleges all across the country are renovating or replacing aging science buildings. We want to give our students the best education and experiences in science that we can. The Herty addition will help us do that. The rest is up to us.”


Cost: $3.4 million
Addition size: 17,000 sq. ft.
Beginning Date: Oct. 2009
Estimated Completion: August 2010

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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