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A First for East Georgia College
Tuesday, 10 August 2010

August 10--  This Thursday is a banner day for East Georgia College in Swainsboro. The official groundbreaking ceremony for the new student housing complex will be held at 10 AM on the north campus site. The public is invited and encouraged to attend this event which will mark a major change in the dynamics of the college and the community. As the College “becomes residential,” many changes are expected for the service area - most notably, a greater economic impact due to the addition of 200 new consumers.

Image Architect's Drawing of New Residence Hall at EGC.

            Under the leadership of President John Black, the College is poised to grow exponentially in the next few years. According to Dr. Black, “This housing facility will be the first phase of an aggressive campus master plan to include more housing, academic and student center additions and enhancements - as well as a new sports complex for the National Junior College Athletic Association Division 1 teams already on campus.” Dr. Black, EGC president since 2004, was previously vice president for academic affairs at the College from 1994 until 1999. He has a vision for the planned growth of the College that includes a commitment to the communities served by EGC. This has been the tradition of East Georgia College since the beginning and the current leadership is holding true to that heritage.

            In 1970, the Board of Regents agreed to support a junior college in Swainsboro as one of the six new junior colleges being built. This would only happen if the citizens of the county would contribute the land and $2 million for the initial construction costs. The land was donated by Mrs. David Gambrell, an Emanuel County native and wife of former U.S. Senator David Gambrell. The citizens then voted and passed the bond issue of $2,150,000, realizing that the economic impact on the county would be $2,500,000 annually, far outweighing the total debt. The official groundbreaking was January 13, 1973 and the official name was Emanuel County Junior College. Classes began in 1973 in four temporary locations with a student body of 167. One of the most instrumental political individuals for the establishment of the new junior college was George L. Smith II. (1912-1973). Housing on campus was a dream of Dr. Madison Dixon (1920-1999). “Doc” was the leader of the grassroots efforts of the EGC Foundation as they began planning and securing funds for on campus residential facilities.

            The new $8 million, 200 bed apartment complex is being financed through the sale of revenue bonds by the Georgia Higher Education Financing Authority. Leading the construction team as project manager is The Hal Gibson Company. Lead architect on the project is local resident Kevin Palmer of Palmer Architects. Assisting in architectural design is Jackson Kane of Lord, Aeck and Sargent. The construction management team of Fortune – Johnson is the general contracting firm. All of the principals have experience in this type of construction. The anticipated completion date is July, 2011. Each unit consists of 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, kitchen and living area. Laundry facilities will be available in the building, along with computer labs and other common spaces.

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