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GMC’s campus receives facelift with new building

http://unionrecorder.com/local/x1897229041/GMC-s-campus-receives-facelift-with-new-building March 7, 2010 GMC’s campus receives facelift with new building Vaishali Patel The Union-Recorder MILLEDGEVILLE — With construction began on the grounds of Georgia Military College in February 2009 on the corner of Greene and Elbert streets shifting to finishing work, Usery Hall is nearing completion and faculty, staff and 500 students are more than elated to migrate Aug. 6 and adjust to the building’s modern features. The three-story building will allow grades six through 12 to be under one roof for the first time, housing sixth and seventh graders on the top floor while grade levels descend toward the bottom floor. GMC Vice President of Engineering Services Jeff Gray said halls with accent walls throughout the 70,111 square-foot building will lead to 36 classrooms, including three science labs, two computer labs and two music rooms, which are “somewhat over 600 square feet with closets and shelving designed for 24 students each.” The building will also house a reception area, five clinic treatment rooms, 560 lockers, 14 toilets and 18 faculty, staff and Army Junior ROTC offices. A formal conference room with 21 foot tall windows with motorized shades will allow meetings to take place in total comfort. Once the prep school moves out of its current locations in Miller and Jenkins Hall, the junior college will shift in. “This summer, our moving plan is for the college to take over Miller Hall, and military science will move to Jenkins Hall. The IT Department will move to Wilder Hall where military science currently resides,” Gray said. “We’ll put in active expression (Promethean) boards in Usery Hall that are 8 feet wide and 3 feet tall in each classroom, and we will refit Miller Hall and place 17 Promethean boards in there.” Students will be able to spend free time in a courtyard, as a circular drive will allow parents to drop off and pick up students. A water fountain and pedestrian bridge will connect two sides of the front of the building facing Greene Street. Teachers have already been assigned classrooms, but desk location within each room is still undecided. Gray said students will be equipped with better learning tools in a quality learning environment. “The students have toured, and they are very excited to move out of the 1926 building. We are able to reduce the amount of time between period changes and have more time to teach,” he said. When the Main Barracks and Vinson Hall were demolished for the preparation of the new site, Gray said the construction company Skanska could not have been “a better partner for the project.” Ricky Clayton, superintendent of construction, said the 300 workers form a “good team.” “We went through an extensive interview process. We had 11 to 12 firms contribute proposals to the project,” Gray said. “We couldn’t be happier with [Skanska]. They figured out how to make it happen when it needed to happen.” The building will be named Usery Hall, in honor of former United States Labor Secretary and GMC alumnus W.J. Usery Jr., and will join Miller Hall as the two largest education buildings in the GMC complex. The construction project cost $21 million with $19.5 million from state bonds and $1.5 million raised by local supporters. Usery Hall is set for completion June 30 with a public reception following Aug. 5. “The rain has really hurt exterior construction. We will probably finish the inside before the outside, but it will be on time,” Gray said. “We can change or modernize the building as needed and it will last 50 years or more. The only question left is who will get the corner rooms with the most windows?”