Smashing bricks, Univ. of West Ga. starts renovation for Newnan campus

Stakeholders involved with bringing the new University of West Georgia-Newnan Center to the site of the old Newnan Hospital on Jackson Street took a swing at “building breaking” Sept. 9 as part of the ceremonies that will lead to the new campus opening in January 2015. Photo/Ben Nelms.

The old Newnan Hospital on Jackson Street in Newnan is about to get a new look for the 21st century. Rather than a customary groundbreaking, a “building breaking” ceremony was held Sept. 9 to announce the beginning of the project that will transform the old hospital into the University of West Georgia-Newnan Center that will open in January 2015.

UWG President Dr. Kyle Marrero said portions of the existing 129,000 square-foot building will be eliminated and 3,000 square feet of new space will be added to result in a finished product totaling 84,000 square feet. The campus is expected to open in January 2015 with an anticipated 1,200 students.

UWG’s Newnan campus will be heavy on its nursing emphasis but will also provide a variety of other academic offerings.

“I know nursing will be a major component here, but it will also be education, it will be business, it will be other appropriate related degree programs that are relevant to this region,” Marrero said.

The current UWG campus off Amlajack Boulevard has an enrollment of 500, but Marrero said the goal is to see that number increase to 3,000 at the new campus within five years.

“In five years, fall of 2018, we want a 3,000 non-duplicated head count to be enrolled in programs here all the way through the breadth of study,” Marrero said, adding that he and UWG intend to be a part of the Coweta County community.

Newnan Mayor Keith Brady is his remarks said, “This is something we’ve waited for for a long time and a lot of people have put a lot of hard work into this project.”

Brady noted the likely impact of UWG’s expansion in Newnan and Coweta County.

“The most important thing to think of, as we think of this project and as it moves forward, is the investment that we are making for the future generations that will grow up here in Newnan and the people who will come to our city who might not have found us otherwise,” Brady said.

The Newnan Hospital Redevelopment Project is a partnership between the City of Newnan, Newnan Hospital, Coweta County, the University of West Georgia and the University System of Georgia/Board of Regents and involves the acquisition and redevelopment of the historic Newnan Hospital on Jackson Street for use by the University of West Georgia to expand and enhance their curriculum offerings, city spokesperson Gina Snider said. 

“To have a project with city, county, Board of Regents and all the people involved that made this happen, it is truly extraordinary, and you all deserve a round of applause,” Marrero said to the large group assembled for the ceremony. Newnan, Coweta County, the Newnan Hospital Foundation, Georgia Power and others have worked locally over the years to bring UWG to its current campus and to expand the university’s presence at the new UWG-Newnan campus.

The Newnan Hospital Redevelopment Project is expected to produce an immediate one-time economic impact of $21 million during the construction phase, including the creation of 176 jobs. Over the long term, the project is anticipated to generate between $1.4 million and $3.4 million in annual economic activity within the community, according to the UWG’s Center for Business and Economic Research.

Snider said the Newnan Hospital Redevelopment Project is a catalytic project that will improve the overall business climate of the downtown district. Retail, restaurant, service and professional as well as financial institutions and all other providers of goods and services within the local trade area will benefit from the project, she said. 

In addition, the project will provide individuals with the opportunity to obtain a university education here in Newnan,” said Snider. ”Providing our current and future businesses with a well-trained workforce is of paramount importance and this project simply adds to our current compliment of post-secondary educational opportunities.”

The new campus will help Newnan remain a globally competitive community, connected to the modern economy, with access to economically sustainable opportunities and the advancement and availability of a university education supports that goal,” Snider said.