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College may get 45 acres

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County commissioners may be especially generous this holiday season.

Today, the same day the board will vote on a $25 million pledge to Gwinnett Hospital System, it will also consider a 45-acre land donation to Georgia Gwinnett College.

"The relationship between a college and the county in which it resides is a most important one, and it is extremely helpful to have a close working relationship with you and your commissioners," Georgia Gwinnett College President Dan Kaufman wrote in a letter requesting the donation. "You are truly helping us prepare for the future of this new college."

College officials did not return phone calls Monday, but in the letter to Commission Chairman Charles Bannister, Kaufman said he wanted the land so it could be included in a master plan.

The land is "no real asset to the county at this time," Bannister said. "It would be better to let the college have it all."

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.

Last month, crews broke ground on a classroom expansion for the fledgling campus. Officials are working to add a library and a parking deck, and the letter said the master plan would consider the placement of athletic fields.

Also on the agenda is a declaration of the need for a Joint Development Authority between DeKalb, Newton and Gwinnett counties.

The authority would provide financing for expansions to Georgia Perimeter College and Georgia Gwinnett College, according to documents, but Bannister said he wants more time to study the proposal.