by Colton Campbell

The state of Georgia has approved $4.4 million in bond funding for the University of West Georgia for two capital projects that will enhance opportunities for students to succeed.

UWG Humanities Building
UWG Humanities Building
Included in the funding, which came as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, is $2.5 million in design funding for the renovation of the UWG Humanities building and $1.9 million for furniture, fixtures and equipment (FFE) for Roy Richards Sr. Hall, the new building to house the Richards College of Business.

“We are incredibly grateful to Gov. Brian Kemp and his team, the Georgia General Assembly and the University System of Georgia Board of Regents for supporting this investment in the University of West Georgia and its students,” said Dr. Brendan Kelly, UWG president. “This project will significantly improve the quality of learning for our students and will create wonderful opportunities for pedagogical advancement for our faculty.”

Kelly expressed special appreciation to the members of the legislative delegation who represent the communities served by UWG.

“We greatly appreciate the UWG legislative delegation for their dedication to UWG and higher education in this region,” Kelly said. “Our vision for the academic enterprise is embodied in these projects.”

The university’s goal in the Humanities building renovation project – which will include a new heating and cooling plant to distribute energy services to the Academic Quad – is to create an enhanced environment that is sustainable and relevant to the educational  needs of our students.

“One of the most exciting aspects of this project is that it will allow us to create a space where students can thrive and become truly connected to their education,” Kelly said. “We are starting with the mindset to intentionally impact student retention, progression and graduation (RPG) strategies in the advanced programming and design process, addressing student success and engagement in every element of our work,” Kelly said.

The Humanities building renovation project will correct barriers to RPG by ensuring classrooms are the proper size for the instruction that takes place in them, providing students better access to faculty, improving accessibility, and creating more opportunities for active and collaborative learning.

The renovation will improve the effectiveness and suitability of more than 70,000 assignable square feet.

Additionally, the building’s galleries, recital hall and common areas will be renovated to meet modern program, performance, and collaboration needs. All building infrastructure will be upgraded to meet current codes, efficiency standards and programming needs. Accessibility will also be improved in all areas, including exterior and interior access, circulation, programmed space access, and restrooms.

The Humanities building project will also include a central plant and distribution loop for water to serve the Academic Quad buildings (Humanities, Boyd and Pafford), as well as Ingram Library. This phase of the project – which will include more than 3,000 gross square feet of new construction – will add a centralized system for increased energy efficiency.

The university will request support from the state for the renovation of the Humanities Building and the construction of the central plant in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget cycle.

The $1.9 million in FFE funding for Richards Hall will allow for the completion of the new space serving Richards College of Business students to be completed in time for the fall 2021 semester.

The construction of Richards Hall has gone vertical, with the new building situated near the intersection of Maple Street and University Drive, where Watson Hall – a former residence hall – once stood.

UWG Richards Hall rendering
UWG Richards Hall rendering
The new building will be a state-of-the-art learning environment to build the workforce of tomorrow, with flexible teaching spaces, a professional business hub for experiential learning and common spaces that will foster a sense of community among stakeholders.

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.

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.

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.

For more information on the construction of Richards Hall, visit the Richards College of Business website.

Posted on July 16, 2020