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Commission donates land to campus, withholds 5 acres for fire station

LAWRENCEVILLE - Instead of a library or a parking deck, five acres at Georgia Gwinnett College's campus will hold a fire station.

County commissioners chose to hold five acres back from a planned 45-acre donation to the college to place a station across the street from the campus.

"We had some concerns about just giving the land," Commissioner Lorraine Green said. "At a college with 10,000 students (in the future), you're going to need a fire station nearby."

College spokeswoman Jennifer Stephens said officials were grateful both for the donation and the fire station plan. College officials requested the land, which had been promised by the county, be turned over so a master plan for the campus could be completed.

"We think it's an excellent idea to have a fire station across from Georgia Gwinnett College," Stephens said.

In the master plan, the college is considering where future classrooms will be built, along with a library, a parking deck and possibly athletic fields.

In 1999, the county government purchased 180.191 acres along Collins Hill Road, near Ga. Highway 316 for nearly $6 million. Officials had hopes of convincing the Georgia Board of Regents to bring higher education to the suburban county, and that's what happened.

The county turned over 160 acres for the creation of the Gwinnett University Center, which hosted classes for the University of Georgia and Georgia Perimeter College until regents approved the first new university since the 1970s, Georgia Gwinnett College, which opened this fall.

Now, the county wants to turn over the remaining parcel as well as 23.33 acres purchased in 2001 for $218,800.

According to Deputy Fire Chief Casey Snyder, the department would hope to fund a new station with sales tax funds, if an extension to the program is approved in 2008.

A likely scenario would be for Station 10 - which is at Russell Road and Buford Drive in Lawrenceville - to be moved farther north in its territory and another station built at the campus. Another possibility would be to relocate Station 10 to the college, he said.

The station would likely be completed prior to the year 2012, he said.