November 4, 2012

Dalton State to break ground on science building

Submitted by Dalton State College

— The public is invited to attend when ground is broken on Dalton State’s new science building on Monday, Nov. 12, at 1:30 p.m.

“This will be a day of celebration for Dalton State; it has been more than a decade since we have broken ground for a new academic building on our campus,” said Dalton State President John O. Schwenn.

The ceremonial groundbreaking comes more than seven years after construction of the building was first approved by the Georgia Board of Regents. The intervening years have been spent shepherding the project through the funding process.

The state Legislature allocated $15 million for construction of the 60,000-square-foot building in its fiscal year 2013 budget. A $500,000 disbursement from the John Willis Mashburn Charitable Trust will be applied to the project, and the Board of Regents has included $2.1 million in its FY 2014 budget to furnish and equip the building. Design funds of $1.3 million were appropriated in 2010, and plans were drafted by the Atlanta architectural firm of Lord Aeck & Sargent with assistance from local architect Gregg Sims.

The heart of the gleaming glass and brick structure will be science laboratories and classroom space for the college’s growing programs in chemistry and biology.

“This new building is going to be a tremendous asset as we work to increase the number of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates in our area,” said Randall Griffus, dean of the School of Science, Technology and Mathematics. “Our science programs are really growing. We currently have 66 chemistry majors and about 325 biology majors. We’re running 76 labs a week.”

In addition to lab space for classes, the new building will also include dedicated lab space for student and faculty research. “The opportunity to do undergraduate research is going to be a terrific advantage for our students who seek to apply to professional schools, such as medical and dental school,” said Griffus.

Construction is expected to take 13 months with faculty occupancy beginning spring of 2014. The first classes will not be before summer 2014.

“We are deeply grateful to our legislators and other friends of the college who supported this project through the legislative process this year and actually over the last many years,” Schwenn said. “Legislators including former Sen. Don Thomas, Sen. Charlie Bethel, Sen. Jeff Mullis, Rep. Roger Williams, Rep. Tom Dickson, Rep. Tom Weldon, Rep. Jay Neal and Rep. John Meadows made this building a special priority last session and for that Dalton State will always be most appreciative.

“Thanks, too, to Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Speaker of the House David Ralston, and to Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Jack Hill and House Appropriations Committee Chair Terry England for their support of Dalton State’s funding request.”

“Regent Jim Jolly has also been a tireless champion for Dalton State among the legislators and throughout our community and region,” Schwenn said. “We could not have accomplished what we have without his help.”

Those planning to attend the groundbreaking are asked to park in the Bandy Gymnasium parking lot on George Rice Drive.