On May 12, the city of Newnan celebrated the renovation of the historic Newnan Hospital, now home to University of West Georgia Newnan with a ribbon cutting. Newnan Mayor Keith Brady was joined by UWG President Kyle Marrero, Georgia State Representative Lynn Smith, Hank Houser of Houser Walker Architects, Eric Johnson of Comprehensive Program Services, and a packed reception of administrators, faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the university.
Brady opened the ceremony with a thank you to the entire community for their tireless efforts on the project. He asked those in attendance to raise their hands if they or their children had been born there and extolled the importance of renovating the hospital to serve the community in a new way.
“Lives were saved here, thousands were born here, and now these hallways will become alive again as they serve as a place of life-changing opportunities for citizens who seek to further their education,” he said.
In sharing his excitement with the new development, Dr. Marrero praised President Emeritus Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna, the county, and all those whose vision, leadership and perseverance helped establish the hospital redevelopment project.
“Many people drive by on Jackson Street and point to this building and say ‘This is the hospital I was born in.’ The beauty of the architectural integrity of this project is that the history was maintained,” he said. “So, from the street, we see the beauty of the old hospital, but behind the walls the addition of high-tech laboratories and classrooms provide a state-of-the-art instruction facility that will be home to a record-breaking class size for UWG Newnan this fall.”
Dr. Marrero stated that the facility would host up to 3,000 students in the future, with an expected economic impact of $150 million to Coweta County. One way UWG plans to meet that head count is through dual enrollment. He thanked Representative Smith for her help in passing Senate Bill 132, which helps high school students begin their college education early through dual enrollment, with no cost to the students or their families. He explained that UWG Newnan will begin offering classes for local high school juniors and seniors in the summer, and will continue offering dual enrollment throughout the year with classes starting at 7:30 a.m.
“If I were to give any advice, I would say buy some land around here,” he joked.
The renovation of the historic Newnan Hospital was completed in less than three years as a collaborative effort by the city of Newnan, UWG, the Newnan Hospital Board, the Georgia Board of Regents, Coweta County and a multitude of local leaders and individuals. UWG Newnan was previously located in Shenandoah Industrial Park.
“This is a beautiful portal into Newnan,” Representative Smith said. “It is here for those who only dreamed of getting a better education, who in times of hope envisioned themselves in a new and promising career, who now have a real opportunity to pursue a higher education right here at home.”
UWG Newnan will be hosting three days of opening activities for the public in August and, in collaboration with the Cultural Arts Commission, will provide art talk lectures, music performances, and theatrical performances for the community throughout the year.