STEAM building construction underway at Cartersville campus

Photo by Mackenzie Duvall Excavation makes room for the new academic building.

Photo by Mackenzie Duvall
Excavation makes room for the new academic building.

Mounds of red Georgia clay are visible near the campus pond as construction on GHC’s new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) building continues at the Cartersville campus.

Students have been advised to avoid construction zones by using the Highway 20 entrance, parking in the remaining lots and walking around the fenced-in construction site.

Access to the campus’ rear parking lots from the Cline Smith Road entrance is restricted to the construction crew.

The 52,000-square foot building was designed by the firm of Stanley Beaman & Sears and is being built by Juneau Construction Company.
At the groundbreaking ceremony in April, GHC’s President Don Green stated that “this new academic building will include spaces for laboratories, classrooms, a lecture hall, study rooms and more.”

Green added that the new building will increase “GHC’s ability to directly impact and support the community workforce through STEAM-based degrees.”

Green also said that it will allow GHC to better serve as the University System of Georgia’s main access school in northwest Georgia.
GHC had pursued state funding for the building during the 2017 fiscal year, and $22.5 million was approved by the Georgia Legislature for the project and signed by Gov. Nathan Deal: $2.2 million for design, $2.6 million for equipment and the remaining $17.7 million for construction costs.

Greg Ford, GHC’s dean of natural sciences and physical education, stated that “The laboratory facilities are to capacity on the Cartersville campus” and that the “constant setup and breakdown of labs with limited time in between is a logistical nightmare.”

Ford said that with new labs “faculty will have more freedom to offer activities outside of class time” and the college will be able to offer “open lab” to supplement learning.

According to Ford, GHC is “aiming for a soft opening” of the building in the fall 2018 semester with limited course offerings so that the college can “work out the ‘kinks’ and unforeseen logistic issues.” The full opening will be in the spring semester 2019.

Tay Curry and Devin Jordan, both of whom attend classes at the Cartersville campus, show annoyance over the current parking situation as well as respect for a job well done.

Jordan said, “They took over one parking lot and that long, straight sidewalk.” He continued, “You have to get here a little earlier now because it’s a long walk from the back lot.”

Curry agreed, but went on to say, “They seem to be making good progress” in regards to the construction project.

Throughout the construction process, a live video feed of the building project can be found streaming at highlands.edu/site/misc/steambuilding/