LAWRENCEVILLE -- Homero Gonzales laughed at the idea of a traffic jam on the campus of Georgia Gwinnett College, but for a few minutes Monday, the college's first day of classes, that's what he saw.
Campus police were on site to help returning students and the college's approximately 2,300 freshmen navigate the parking areas on a campus that has grown considerably since Gonzales, now a senior, enrolled in 2007 as part of the first class to have spent all four academic years at GGC. Since then, he has watched the campus expand -- GGC added a library, a student center, set to be finished in October, and dorms this year -- and enrollment numbers soar -- the college surpassed the 5,000 student mark this fall.
"You can see why we have new buildings because I can't imagine where we would have fit all these students," the 21-year-old Lawrenceville resident said Monday, enjoying a mocha blast in the new Jazzman's Cafe and Bakery adjacent to the new library. "It's really amazing to see how large the college is now, and now we have problems with parking," he said with a laugh.
Freshman Lamequa Purdie spent some time Monday afternoon in the college's new state-of-the-art library following her sole class, an elective course in music. Quite a few students took advantage of the cool air inside the $28.3 million, 95,370-square-foot facility on their first day of the fall semester, spending time at computers or hanging out with friends. The main level of the library is designed for those purposes, while 38 private study rooms, which can be reserved, and a reading room offer more typical, quiet atmospheres.
Rajah Ghany used some free time to get some homework done.
"I need to do it online, so I just came to the library," he said. "It looks like it's easy to study here."
Ghany and Purdie were just two of the 5,700 students GGC welcomed Monday, a number that represented a increase of more than 75 percent over fall 2009's enrollment of 3,200.
"Our enrollment this fall is a strong indicator that GGC has become a college of choice," said college president Daniel Kaufman. "With only 118 students when we opened in the fall of 2006, this is a remarkable ramping up of a new college, and we will grow at double-digit rates for years to come."