Georgia College Breaks Ground on New Science Building and Re-opens Historic Terrell Hall

Staff Report From Middle Georgia CEO

Friday, February 21st, 2020

Georgia College commemorates two campus buildings Friday, Feb. 21, with a groundbreaking ceremony for its Integrated Science Complex and ribbon cutting for newly-renovated Terrell Hall. The two facilities mark a combined construction upgrade for the campus worth $35.4 million.

At 11 a.m., University President Dr. Steve Dorman will dig the ceremonial shovel of dirt, officially commencing construction of Georgia College’s first new academic structure to be built since the Arts and Sciences building in 1995. Groundbreaking for the Integrated Science Complex will be at the corner of Montgomery and Wilkinson Streets.

At 1:30 p.m., Dorman will also preside over a ribbon cutting at Terrell Hall on Front Campus. Originally built in 1908, Terrell is one of the university's oldest structures. Years ago, it was a dormitory. More recently, Terrell housed various department offices. Its new use will be for communication technology and studies.

“I am delighted to break ground on our new Integrated Science Complex,” Dorman said. “This will greatly expand upon our existing strengths in our science programs at Georgia College and provide our students and faculty members with state-of-the-art facilities focused on science, technology and research.”

“In addition,” he said, “I am delighted to re-open historic Terrell Hall. The improvements we made to the historical character of the building are breathtaking. This facility brings together all the relevant areas of mass communications and media studies, and it greatly expands opportunities for our students.

The $22.1 million Integrated Science Complex will be three floors with advanced equipment and spaces for students to gather, collaborate and use for study. Completion for the 43,000 sq. ft. building is slated for late spring 2021. New space will allow the university to offer a concentration in the growing field of forensic chemistry and more science education courses for students who want to teach science.

The architectural design is striking for its wide expanses of glass windows, making it a beacon of light at night, said University Architect Michael Rickenbaker. Inside, all teaching and research laboratories have walls of windows—allowing visitors to walk the perimeter of each floor and see science-on-display. Labs will open into an interior passageway, called the linear equipment room, that’ll be shared by all science faculty and students. There will be a refrigerated room, equipment to identify the structure of organic molecules, imaging and microscopy suites, incubators and spinning centrifuges. On a third-floor balcony, there will also be flats set up for botanic research.

Hallway walls will display research posters and traveling exhibits of art. The first display will be African-American art, in honor of Milledgeville’s Slatter family, who owned a house on the property years ago. The site will be marked with a memorial plaque.

Terrell’s $13.3 million renovations took two years to complete. Historic elements obscured in the 1970s were salvaged, like higher ceilings, wider hallways, old flooring and windows that were covered up. Close to 30 coats of paint were stripped off the wood in stairwells and corridors to reveal stunning original woodwork.

Modern updates include advanced multimedia laboratories and engaged-learning classrooms featuring cutting-edge communications technology.

Georgia College’s collaborative student newsroom will also be in Terrell. Student media will work together in one multipurpose space—the university’s live TV news organization, GC360; student newspaper, the Colonnade; and student radio station, WGUR 95.3. Facilities include a versatile production studio and new radio station. Students will have the tools to practice modern, digital-first journalism and experiment with innovative news delivery, while also producing a traditional newspaper and television/radio newscasts.

Associate Professor of Communication Dr. James Schiffman hopes the Terrell newsroom will make Georgia College ‘the’ place to go for journalism education in Georgia. He believes the collaborative learning environment will give journalists a leg-up in today’s unpredictable media landscape.

“I’m really excited to get back into Terrell,” Schiffman said. “We have an opportunity to transform student media here into something that it hasn’t been before.”