by Colton Campbell
The vision of Roy Richards Sr. Hall at the University of West Georgia is one step closer to becoming a reality.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on May 10 signed the state’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget, including the issuance of $14.9 million in bonds to fund the construction of the building to house the Richards College of Business at UWG.
“We are eternally grateful for all the support we have received – from the governor’s office; the University System of Georgia Board of Regents; our representatives in the General Assembly; generous donors who believe in our mission and values; and my colleagues here at UWG who have selflessly given their time, energy and mind power to ensure this building is the best it can be,” said Dr. Faye McIntyre, dean of the Richards College of Business and Sewell Chair of Private Enterprise.
McIntyre said the design of the facility is centered around three words: corporate, classic and connected. To that end, Richards Hall will showcase a clean architectural design with classic references and ample opportunities for student interaction with new technologies.
“We continue to embrace and celebrate our commitment to inspiring students as entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders, giving them the tools they need to add economic value to the communities they serve,” McIntyre said. “The new Richards Hall will allow us to achieve our mission – to transform lives through education, engagement and experiences – at an unprecedented level.”
In addition to the approved construction money, the UWG Foundation has received gifts and pledges of $6.7 million toward the construction of the new building, which will be situated near the intersection of Maple Street and University Drive, where Watson Hall – a former residence hall not currently in use – now stands.
Watson Hall is tentatively scheduled to be razed in summer 2019, with construction on Richards Hall to begin in the fall. The current expected completion date is summer 2021.
A 22-member committee – including representatives from UWG’s faculty, staff and student body – was formed to inform the building’s design in regard to programming needs and the needs of students, faculty and staff.
Included in the 67,000-square-foot facility will be a dozen classrooms ranging in sizes from a 24-seat seminar classroom to a 105-seat lecture hall; an expanded lab to serve management information systems students; and 13 collaborative learning spaces open for use by students, faculty and staff.
“This committee has done fantastic work homing in on what we truly want – and need – in this building to offer the workforce of tomorrow the training and education they will require,” McIntyre said. “Their work has allowed for the inclusion of rooms for student organizations, a common area with a café, and a dedicated space for graduate students and veterans.”
The three-story building’s main entrance will face University Drive, with easy access to the Carrollton GreenBelt. An additional entrance on the building’s opposite side, near a large parking lot, will also be featured.
McIntyre said all the work in developing plans and designs for Richards Hall has everyone – in the Richards College of Business and throughout UWG – thinking even more about the future.
Richards Hall will allow the college to grow between 10-20 percent in student population and will include spaces for two additional faculty members in each of the college’s four departments, allowing for college-wide faculty growth of one member per year over the next decade.
“Any time we construct today, we do so with the idea of growth and possible expansion or renovation in the future,” McIntyre said. “We know this building will be here for decades to come, so we’re not just planning for today’s needs. We’re planning for what our future generations of Richards College of Business students will need. That’s the fun part.”
To track updates on Richards Hall, visit www.westga.edu/academics/business/roy-richards-sr-hall.php.