Fee to pay for center at college

ATLANTA - A planned library will become the academic centerpiece of the new Georgia Gwinnett College.

But college students need a place to socialize, too.

On Tuesday, the state Board of Regents approved a proposal to charge students a fee of $100 per semester to pay for a student center on the Lawrenceville campus.

"Our students literally don't have a place to go to sit and study," Dan Kaufman, the school's president, said after Tuesday's vote.

The student center fee will be part of a tuition-and-fee package that will take effect at Georgia Gwinnett in August, when the year-old college welcomes its first freshman class.

Just more than 100 juniors signed up for classes when the school opened last August. That small group will be joined by as many as 3,000 freshmen for the college's second year.

Also on Tuesday, the regents set tuition rates for incoming freshmen at $78 per credit hour and approved $350 in mandatory student fees per semester.

Besides the student center charge, students will pay an activity fee of $35, a parking fee of $100 and a technology fee of $75. All three are the same as the fees the school charged last fall.

Also, the recreation fee is being doubled from $20 per semester to $40.

The additional revenue will be used to build a student recreation center, which will house basketball and racquetball courts and include space for aerobics and weight lifting.

The larger student center will feature food services, a bookstore, theaters and student government offices.

Kaufman said the college will design and build the library and student center at the same time in close proximity, so they can become a hub for the campus off of Collins Hill Road.

"We'll probably get a single design team for both, maybe get a plaza effect," he said.

Kaufman said he hopes construction on the two projects can begin by the summer or fall of next year with completion by the summer of 2010.

The 2008 state budget, which takes effect July 1, includes $28.3 million for the new library.