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Carrollton grants land to UWG

September 17, 2003

CARROLLTON, GA - In a momentous move to facilitate campus expansion, the Mayor and City Council of Carrollton voted unanimously to grant approximately 248 acres of city-owned land to the University of West Georgia.

The land is northeast of campus and will allow for the development of campus facilities to include a recreational and intercollegiate athletic complex, commuter parking, and a proposed stadium.

Benefits to the City include improved vehicular access from the north side of campus and access between Maple Street and Lovvorn Road, while reducing traffic on Maple Street. Landscape buffers will continue to be established along neighboring residential streets.

Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna, UWG president, addressed Mayor Gerald Pilgrim and members of the City Council.

“Today, we stand at a remarkable threshold. UWG has crossed the 10,000 student mark. Enrollment standards are higher than they have ever been, quality in national competitions is higher than it has ever been. When the University System of Georgia (USG) comes looking for universities to head up the quality growth and expansion in Georgia, we want them to pick us among the set,” Sethna said.

Growth indicators predict the USG will grow by approximately 50 percent by 2020. The number of 18-34 year olds in Georgia is expected to increase to 150 percent of its current level during that period, and the anticipated bulk of that growth will be in the Atlanta area which includes Carrollton and UWG.

“We believe that growth in UWG represents opportunities for good, clean growth of higher education and jobs in our region,” Sethna noted. “The UWG payroll in May included almost 2,000 positions, including student workers. An expansion by 50 percent could mean an additional 1,000 position with a similar mix.”

According to Dick Galehouse, consultant to UWG from Sasaki and Associates to assist the University with Facilities Master Planning, the current campus is 80 percent built on or committed. Significantly more land was needed for the University to keep up with projected growth.

Charles E. Beard, director of University libraries and chair of UWG’s Master Facilities Plan steering committee, noted that the city's land grant will ensure that the University maintains its historic buildings, landscape and greenspaces while permitting the University, over time, to recreate a pedestrian campus with most parking and athletic facilities relocated to “the soon to be acquired” acreage.

Following the City Council’s action to move forward in the negotiations to turn the land over to UWG, campus officials will petition the USG Board of Regents to submit a request during the next legislative session for a $5 million capital grant request for infrastructure improvements.

Sethna noted that the actual development of the land and facilities would take place in phases over a period of years as funding becomes available. He stated that the University will make every effort to communicate effectively with representatives of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Gerald Pilgrim, mayor of Carrollton, characterized the action of the City Council as a win/win venture.

“I am very excited about the cooperation between the City and the University which is the key to both of our success,” he stated. “UWG is a vital economic engine in our community and their growth directly impacts our growth. I look forward to our long, successful partnership.”

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