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New GMC Prep facility complete, moving has begun

July 16, 2010 New GMC Prep facility complete, moving has begun Vaishali Patel The Union-Recorder MILLEDGEVILLE — After months of anticipation, Georgia Military College Prep School faculty and staffers have finally begun migrating into their new centralized state-of-the-art learning facility, Usery Hall, allowing students in grades six to 12 to be under one roof for the first time. Located on the corner of Green and Elbert streets, accent walls throughout the 70,111 square-foot building lead to 36 classrooms, including three science labs, two computer labs endowed with 25 desktop computers each, two music rooms, administrative and counseling offices, a space for Junior ROTC training and a health services center. The three-story facility will also house a reception area to welcome visitors while students take advantage of an open courtyard equipped with a water fountain and granite benches located near the circular drive. The construction project cost $21 million with $19.5 million from state bonds and $1.5 million raised by local supporters. According to a press release, Lord, Aeck & Sargent (LAS) architects designed the building, which was constructed by Skanska, a leading national and local provider of construction, pre-construction consulting, general contracting and design-build services. The construction group will be addressing some finishing touches throughout the remainder of the month. “Since this is the Old Capitol square, the design of [Usery Hall] had to conform to the gothic style of architecture, and I could not be more pleased,” GMC President Maj. Gen. Peter J. Boylan said via press release. “Skanska has done a masterful job of putting the building together. The quality of construction that I see in this building is second to none. Over the 18 years that I have been president of this organization, we’ve put through perhaps $120 million worth of new construction at various sites and I can say without question that Skanska is easily, far and away, the best organization that we have worked with for that period of time.” GMC challenged LAS and Skanska to create the new building while respecting the existing architecture of the campus and, at the same time, integrating modern building materials and new technologies. The LAS design called for a quality, durable facade made up of a nearly two foot thick wall of concrete blocks, jumbo sized utility brick, damp proofing and nearly one inch of direct applied stucco. “Skanska was honored to be selected by GMC to build their next landmark building, Usery Hall. Our work on this project has led to one of the best client partnerships that I’ve experience in my 17-year building career. In every interaction with General Boylan, [GMC Vice President of Engineering Services] Jeff Gray and the entire GMC staff, they have shown a professionalism, character and courtesy that is second to none, while acting as a positive and proactive partner,” Skanska Vice President of Operations Matt Jones said in a press release. “Usery Hall was designed to match the existing architecture of the campus while integrating modern building materials and new technologies, making it cutting-edge facility. It was also designed for a life span of 80 to 100 years, as opposed to the 30 to 50-year life span of a traditional building, to better serve the school and its students.” The building is named in honor of former United States Labor Secretary and GMC alumnus W.J. “Bill” Usery Jr., and has joined Miller Hall as the two largest education buildings in the GMC complex. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will kick off with a special formation at 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 6. and students will follow a modified class schedule.