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University earns third statewide award for Campus Theatre renovation

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April 19, 2011

Georgia College’s renovation of the Campus Theater building in downtown Milledgeville has garnered its third preservation award — this time from The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.

President Dorothy Leland accepted the Excellence in Rehabilitation award during Georgia Trust’s annual conference in Macon.

“We very much appreciate the Georgia Trust’s recognition of our success in preserving this historic downtown icon as part of our commitment to preserving our local history while supporting the community,” Leland said. “This beautifully renovated building serves the university but also provides the community with a retail bookstore, a live performance theatre and a coffee shop – all while maintaining the splendid look of a vintage movie house.”

Excellence in Rehabilitation awards recognize projects that make compatible use of a building through repair, alterations or additions while preserving features of the property that convey its historic value, said Traci Clark, director of communications.

The university bought the old movie house in February 2008 and reopened its doors in April 2010. The university’s $6.9 million renovation funded through bonds issued by Georgia Higher Education Facilities Authority expanded the building’s usable space from 17,000 to 25,000 square feet.    

Georgia College under the guidance of Garbutt/Christman LLC transformed the ground floor of the 76-year-old Art-Deco Campus Theatre into a black box theatre, Box Office Bookstore and Jittery Joe’s coffee shop, as well as offices and instructional space for the Department of Theatre Arts.

The rehabilitation included stabilizing the foundation and creating a new structural steel frame to accommodate a new basement and mezzanine level; exterior restoration of the brick, terra cotta, windows, doors, ticket booth, marquee and entrance tile; and interior restoration of exposed masonry and clay tile, doors, hardwood floors and plaster walls.

The university’s restoration of Campus Theatre also has been recognized by other statewide organizations.

  • The Georgia Downtown Association presented Georgia College with The Best Commercial Redevelopment Activity Award in August 2010.
  • The University System of Georgia presented the university the 2010 USG Public-Private Ventures Award, recognizing the best non-state funded project that pays for itself through user fees.  Revenue from the bookstore, coffee shop and theatre space pay back the state bonds used to finance construction.   The USG also presented President Leland with its Cornerstone Award for her personal efforts in stabilizing and rebuilding Georgia College’s historic campus, including her work on the Campus Theatre.

 Garbutt/Christman LLC has completed a number of renovation projects on the Georgia College campus during the past 10 years, including the Campus Theatre, the Health Sciences Building, Parks Memorial Building, the Wellness Depot and the Old Governor’s Mansion. Garbutt/Christman currently is constructing the $28 million Wellness & Recreation Center on West Campus.

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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For more information, contact University Communications at (478) 445-4477.