Exploring the roots of GHC at the Floyd campus

Paris Lake is a distinguishing feature of the Floyd campus. Photo by Nick Whitmire

Paris Lake is a distinguishing feature of the Floyd campus. Photo by Nick Whitmire

Students at the student center at the Floyd campus. Photo by Nick Whitmire

Students at the student center at the Floyd campus. Photo by Nick Whitmire

The Floyd campus is where Georgia Highlands College began. The college was founded in 1970 after the citizens of Rome gathered together and went to the Board of Regents to have them recognize the growing need of a higher education in Floyd County.

Rebecca Maddox, director of the associate’s degree in the nursing program said, “Only 12 percent of high school grads went to college in Floyd, so a group of citizens went to the Board of Regents to have the college approved.”

The Floyd campus is 252,743 in total square footage and is located on 223 acres of lands with a total of 1500 hundred students. Todd Jones, vice president of student affairs, said, “The Floyd campus has all the things a full campus has and it’s the location where all the wheels turn.”

On the Floyd campus, students go to interact with each other at the student center in the F-Wing of the administration building. In the student center, John Spranza, the student life director, hosts different activities for students to do outside of class. Next to the student center is the solarium, where faculty and staff have meetings and where some of the clubs such as the Gaming Club get together. Most of the clubs at GHC got their start at Floyd and includes Green Highlands.

The Walraven Building at the Floyd campus is where the math and science classes take place. But within the Walraven Building are different labs where students can have a hands-on experience in class by using various tools, models and materials. Recently the Walraven Building has been updated along with the labs. However, Jones said, “One lab costs $100,000.”

Billy Morris, a professor of geology at GHC, was just a kid when the Floyd campus was being built. His father was one of the original employees of GHC when it was called Floyd Junior College. Over the years, Morris has watched the campus grow to what it is today, but he always tries to preserve some of the originality of the campus while embracing the new updates. He even has some of the old cabinets that were used when the college was founded back in 1970.

Morris said, “While seeing the old stuff go tears me up a little, it has been a fun ride to watch the campus change, and it shows that the administration really cares about the campus by keeping it updated. It will always be the heart of the college.”

When students need a quieter place to do schoolwork outside of class, they have access to the campus library. The library has a vast number of books, computer labs, quiet rooms to study and one of the college’s tutorial centers.

For the business side of GHC, students have access to the McCorkle Building.

Another building on the Floyd campus is the Lakeview Building. Besides having classrooms, the Lakeview Building has an art gallery where students, faculty and staff can share their artwork. It also has an auditorium where events such as orientation for new students take place.

For the more athletic students, the Floyd campus has a gym where students can exercise, take physical education classes and watch the college basketball games at the Corral. The campus also has tennis courts, a soccer field, a volley ball court and a baseball and softball field.

When it comes to nature, Paris Lake behind the Floyd campus has been a favorite among students and faculty. It is a massive lake with a trail that goes all around it for students to walk on. The campus has canoes that students can rent, or they can bring their own canoes along with their own fishing equipment. It is also a favorite place for the ducks that hang around campus to complement the nature of the Floyd campus.

Through the years the school has evolved from Floyd Junior College to the Floyd College to what it is today, Georgia Highlands College. GHC has always had one goal, a goal that would eventually spread to the other campuses; to bring higher education at an affordable price, and it all started at the Floyd campus. While the campus continues to be renovated and updated to keep up with the times and for the benefit of the students, the Floyd campus remains as the place where GHC got its start.

Donald Green, the president of GHC, said, “This is where it all started. The people of Floyd County realized they needed higher education that is convenient, so a group of people got together and founded Floyd College and became GHC. They understood the importance of education.”