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PROGRESS: GGC braces for growth with new buildilng

In this 2012 file photo, students walk on the Georgia Gwinnett College campus in Lawrenceville.

In this 2012 file photo, students walk on the Georgia Gwinnett College campus in Lawrenceville.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- During a state of the college address last year, President Daniel J. Kaufman referred to Georgia Gwinnett College as a "great success story."

If one studies the institution's rapid growth since opening in 2006, it's difficult indeed to deny its success.

With about 9,200 students currently enrolled, officials with GGC have said they're quickly reaching campus capacity. Plans for a 90,000-square-foot nursing, science and lab facility, however, could extend the institution's capacity to 11,500, according to Eddie Beauchamp, vice president for Facilities and Operations.

"It will give us the space needed to grow our college," Beauchamp said, adding that the new Allied Health and Science Building will house the new nursing program, "which is a very integral part of GGC's growth and a much-needed field of study for the region and Gwinnett County."

In September 2012, the college hired Diane E. White as dean for its school of health sciences. She came to GGC from Georgia Perimeter College, where she served as dean of health sciences since 2009.

Beauchamp said officials could break ground on the $25.2 million facility in March. It is scheduled to open for classes in August 2014.

In a news release from the college, former Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jim Maran said the addition of the Allied Health and Science building will help in "meeting a critical workforce need for one of the most opportunistic industries...it is imperative to support this expansion plan for the long term growth and sustainability of Gwinnett and Metro Atlanta's business community."

The Allied Health and Science Building will connect to phase one of the project, a $7 million facility that opened about two years ago.

Beauchamp said the building will be located beside the library and "will fit nicely into GGC's current footprint."

The college has come a long way, he said.

"We started with two buildings and have added over 2 million square feet over the past five years. It's been a lot of fun...we've had unbelievable growth. It seems like there's been a major change every year."

Most recently, the college added intercollegiate athletics to its list.

The first event was held in August 2012 when the men's soccer and women's soccer teams competed. In June 2012, college officials held a groundbreaking ceremony near the institution's main entrance off Collins Hill Road for the planned $12 million athletics complex.