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Regents approve NGCSU-GSC campus in Cumming
Site will be off Pilgrim Mill, near aquatic center
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Forsyth County News

 

The Georgia Board of Regents on Wednesday gave approval to a new college campus in Cumming.

The campus is planned as a joint "instructional site" of North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega and Gainesville State College.

It will be off Pilgrim Mill Road near Ga. 400, across from where the city of Cumming is building an aquatic center.

The city's 70-acre site is also being used for a National Guard armory and a Department of Driver Services facility.

Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said the first phase of the college campus will involve building a 30,000-square-foot classroom facility, which would be leased to the college for the first 10 years and then transferred to its foundation.

Set to open by 2012, the new site will eventually offer a "range of two- and four-year undergraduate and graduate programs." according to a news release from North Georgia.

Gravitt said Wednesday that he and other city leaders "can't wait to get started on it."

"We been working on it a long time," he said. "It'll be great for the residents of Cumming, Forsyth County and surrounding counties."

The mayor said he hopes the campus will also benefit the local economy.

"With the economy like it is right now, this will be good because it'll employ a lot of people and bring in a lot of jobs," he said.

Mac McConnell, vice president for business and finance at the Dahlonega-based college, shared the mayor's excitement.

"The establishment today of an instructional site in Forsyth County marks the culmination of many years of effort and collaboration between North Georgia, Gainesville State and our partners -- Mayor Ford Gravitt, the city of Cumming and all our friends in Forsyth County," he said.

While it will not be residential, the new site is expected to alleviate pressure at both colleges.

With nearly 6,000 students, NGCSU is nearing capacity at its main campus. Gainesville State's capacity has exceeded 100 percent on its Oakwood campus since 2000.

North Georgia President David Potter said in a statement that college officials were "very pleased that we are able to move forward with this partnership" that will help "meet the region's growing needs for higher education."

Added Martha T. Nesbitt, president of Gainesville State College: "We know that the demand for higher education is in place in Forsyth County. We look forward to the opportunity to serve the students in a location that will be both convenient and will allow us to offer both day and evening classes."

The new campus will be a continuation of a 27-year partnership between the colleges.

Cumming and North Georgia also have had a standing relationship for years.

Through that partnership, the college currently offers a master's of business administration program, known as Team MBA, in Cumming.

The classes, which began in fall 2008, are held on the fourth floor of Cumming City Hall downtown.