There was a lot of talk of dreams being fulfilled in connection with last week’s groundbreaking for a new college center off Pilgrim Mill Road at Ga. 400.
"This is a dream come true not just for myself and the city council but for our whole community," Cumming Mayor Ford Gravitt told a reporter for a story in advance of the groundbreaking.
"I’ve worked on this since the 1990s, so for this to finally come about is truly one of those lifetime dreams come true," said Mary Helen McGruder, a member of the North Georgia College & State University Foundation and a longtime community leader in Forsyth County.
Like many such dreams, this one came about as the result of a lot of hard work over many years by a host of people devoted to the cause of bringing a college campus to Cumming. The rain that forced the groundbreaking ceremony to take place at the adjacent Cumming Aquatic Center rather than the actual campus did little to dampen the excitement for those on hand.
The new University Center will offer classes from NGCSU and Gainesville State College in a joint campus venture. Construction of the 38,000-square-foot facility is expected to be on the fast track, and classes are planned for October.
The timing on the new campus is fortuitous in that the state is pursuing a plan that calls for consolidation of the two institutes of higher learning into a single university. Both schools already have a presence in the county, but the new campus will allow course offerings to be widely expanded.
While construction is just now beginning on the new educational center, it isn’t hard to imagine a time when the campus is so successful that it will require additional buildings.
Now students graduating from the county’s exceptional public school system will have an opportunity to pursue a variety of two- and four-year academic degrees as well as graduate program offerings. The new University Center will provide a perfect complement to Lanier Technical College in meeting the needs of local students.
Sometimes all it takes for great things to happen is for people to dream big and work hard. Many have done just that in bringing the University Center to Cumming. We look forward to the ribbon cutting this fall, and exceptional educational opportunities for many years to come.