GGC's new student center to open Aug. 2010

LAWRENCEVILLE - Georgia Gwinnett College's student center is expected to be open for business in August 2010.

The 70,000-square-foot building will house an expanded bookstore, a new dining hall and the Student Affairs offices. Along with the construction of the adjacent library and the first phase of student housing, the addition of the student center will transform the campus, officials said.

"Our new library, student housing and now the student center have rounded out our campus, giving it that true college feel," said Eddie Beauchamp, GGC vice president of business and finance. "Once these buildings are complete, we will move into the second phase (of the college's building plan), which will include more dorms and a state-of-the-art allied health building."

The student center, which will adjoin the new library via an outdoor plaza with seating and a water element, will include a 700-seat dining hall that will feature an assortment of food items including pizza, salad, soups, sandwiches, a variety of Asian-inspired dishes, Mexican fare and hot meals with a daily assortment of meat, vegetables, fruits and breads, according to a news release.

The Barnes and Noble Bookstore will be twice as large as the current locale - approximately 5,000 square feet - and will offer all of the necessary student textbooks, books for pleasure and GGC logo gift items including sweats, T-shirts, baseball caps, pens, notebooks, stuffed animals, license plate holders and key chains.

Additionally, the student center will include high-tech audiovisual equipment such as high-definition video projection and displays for digital advertising, a game room and a retail store stocked with convenience items such as toothpaste, soap and food items.

Construction of the student center will be financed by bonds repaid with a student fee.

Like the library, the student center will have silver-level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The LEED system encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and adopted tools and performance criteria, the news release states.

"It looks like the crane is replacing the Grizzly bear as our official mascot, but they are here only temporarily - for the next 10 or 12 years," GGC President Daniel J. Kaufman said with a laugh. "We are very pleased with the progress we are making as we continue to grow the college through academics and our ongoing infrastructure projects."