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College campus official
Leaders seal deal for new facility
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Forsyth County News

Other action

Also on Tuesday night, Cumming's mayor and city council:

• Accepted a $25,000 donation to the Cumming Playhouse from United Community Bank. President Tim Heard presented the funding to Linda Heard, director of the playhouse, and David Corn, playhouse employee.

• Entered a resolution with the Department of Revenue relating to proper payment of sales tax. When issuing a business license, the city agreed to collect certain documents from the applicant and submit them to the state.

• Set a four-month moratorium on events in the area of Market Place Boulevard and Buford Dam Road, effective March 7. This will coincide with work to widen the road between Market Place and Sanders Road.

• Approved the purchase, per this year's budget, of new records management and court system software for the police department.

-- Crystal Ledford

Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said students could be attending classes at a local college campus within 12 to 18 months.

His remarks came during the regular meeting of the Cumming City Council on Tuesday, when North Georgia College & State University and the city signed an official letter of intent to develop a campus off Pilgrim Mill Road.

Last week, the Georgia Board of Regents gave its blessing to the new "instructional site," which will also include Gainesville State College. The campus will offer both two- and four-year undergraduate and graduate programs.

It will be part of a 70-acre site that will also feature a National Guard armory and Department of Driver Services facility.

The site is across from the city's new aquatic center, which is set to open in early June.

The city plans to build the 30,000-square-foot classroom facility, then lease it to NGCSU for 10 years before transferring it to the college's foundation.

Gravitt called Tuesday's meeting "one of the most important" in his 45 years in government.

"We been working on bringing a college campus to Cumming for a long, long time," he said, noting that the process began more than six years ago after a meeting of community leaders.

"At that time, the city of Cumming chose to step to the plate to work with [NGCSU] and see what we could accomplish. Now here we are at the pinnacle."

Representatives from both colleges -- including David Potter, president of NGCSU, and Martha T. Nesbitt, president of Gainesville State -- attended Tuesday's meeting.

Potter thanked Gravitt, Nesbitt, the city council and several municipal employees for their "perseverance" and "willingness to work with us."

"We're extremely excited about the possibilities of working in this area," he said.

Gravitt, in turn, thanked Potter.

"We couldn't have done this without his vision," the mayor said.

Gravitt said the site could be up and running within a year to 18 months, although a construction start date has not been determined.

The project is part of a 27-year partnership between North Georgia and Gainesville State College.

Cumming and NGCSU also have a standing relationship, with a master's of business administration program known as Team MBA currently offered at city hall.

Gravitt said the MBA program, which began holding classes in fall 2008, would likely remain there even after the new site is finished.