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Regents to Secure Truett-Mcconnell’s Watkinsville Campus

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Atlanta — March 12, 2003

The Board of Regents today approved a deal that will result in ownership of the $7.25-million Truett-McConnell College Watkinsville Campus in Athens. The campus will become the new, permanent home of Gainesville College’s Athens Center.

The facility will provide 51,000 square feet of space for expanding the Athens Center, including classroom, wet labs, a library and administrative offices. The real estate purchase also included all existing furnishings from the existing Truett-McConnell campus.

Gainesville College’s Athens operation is the latest entry in the Athens academic community, which has a long-standing tradition of academic excellence. A two-year institution of the University System of Georgia, Gainesville established its Athens Center in May 2001, housed at Piedmont College’s 468 North Milledge Avenue facility. The response to the launch of the satellite operation was an enrollment of 219 students in the initial fall semester of 2001. In fall 2002, enrollment mushroomed to more than 620 students. The growth resulted in space implications for the College, which needed expanded facilities in order to meet the growing demand.

Gainesville College’s move to the Truett-McConnell Campus will make it possible for additional students to learn and study in a comfortable collegiate environment. Projections are that Fall 2003 enrollment at the Center will grow to more than 850 students. College officials are committed to creating a culture of academic excellence in Athens mirroring that of its main campus. The new campus will house an Academic Computing, Tutoring and Testing Center and library, providing much needed tutoring and study spaces. Students also will be offered a full slate of curriculum offerings and support services at the Athens Center.

Financing of the facility will be conducted through the University of Georgia Real Estate Foundation, who also is working collaboratively with Oconee County to offer the bonds which will fund the purchase. The County provided several amenities to encourage the partnership with the University System of Georgia and Gainesville College, including reduced bond fees, road upgrading, and access to county facilities by the Center’s students, among other incentives.

“We are most appreciative of the effective package that Oconee County put together, because it exemplifies the positive results of successful public partnerships,” said University System of Georgia Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith. “When a higher education institution comes knocking on the door of a community, we bring jobs and expanded economic impact. When that is valued, as it is in this situation, everyone benefits.”

The purpose of the Gainesville College Athens Center is to serve as a point of access to the University System of Georgia for students in Northeast Georgia who wish to attend a two-year USG college or who do not meet the requirements for admission as first-year students at USG four-year institutions. Students who attend the Athens Center are primarily from Clarke, Oconee, Gwinnett, Madison, Barrow, Fulton, and Jackson Counties.

Gainesville College will cooperate with the University of Georgia (UGA) to provide teaching opportunities for graduate students. In addition, Gainesville College will continue to prepare students for transfer to UGA which expands on a long history of transfer.

Founded in 1964, Gainesville College has earned the reputation of being a student-centered, transfer-oriented institution. Over 80% of Gainesville College’s graduates transfer to four-year colleges and universities, including The University of Georgia, Georgia State University, and North Georgia College and State University. Upon transfer to a four-year institution, Gainesville graduates do as well or better than students who began their college matriculation at the same four-year institution.

With an enrollment of over 3,700 at its main campus, Gainesville College has an average class size of 24 students. Students at the Gainesville College Athens Center will enjoy the same small classes and close contact with the faculty and staff.

Individuals who are interested in taking courses offered at the Gainesville College Athens Center can call 706-425-3070 or 770-718-3875, or log on to the Gainesville College web site at www.gc.peachnet.edu.

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