University Center's completion brings higher education to Forsyth

A month left before students can begin taking classes

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CUMMING, Ga. — A collaborative effort between North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville State College is shaping up and only a month away from completion.

An opening ceremony for the University Center Ga. 400 campus, off Pilgrim Mill Road south of exit 16 on Ga. 400, will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, said a spokeswoman for the center.

Classes begin that week on Aug. 13. Construction crews expect to turn the building over Aug. 6.

“I think everybody is excited about the opening of the new campus,” said Dr. Sherman Day, director of the University Center. “The citizens are indebted to the mayor for his foresight in helping to organize the land and securing some of the funding.”

The new center will offer educational opportunities for the county and the surrounding area and will be able to accommodate about 800 students.

The center will offer a range of two- and four-year undergraduate programs, graduate programs and professional development. North Georgia's Master of Business Administration program will move to the new facility from the Cumming City Hall building.

Courses such as a nursing program are already completely booked, Day said. Other classes, including the MBA program, have been doing well. There are between 25 to 30 continuing education programs that will be offered, in addition to Gainesville College’s core courses such as math and English.

“The [University System of Georgia] Board of Regents, in studying the situation in the area, determined that Forsyth was an underserved region in terms of higher education,” said Kate Maine, director of university relations for North Georgia College & State University.

As demand dictates, there is enough property at this location that facility expansion can occur, Maine said.

“There are no immediate plans, but Forsyth is such a fast growing area that we expect growth there,” Maine said.

In January 2013, the two campuses will also begin functioning under one name — the University of North Georgia.

Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said Forsyth County is one of the 10 fastest growing areas in the country and the campus will have a rippling economic impact throughout the community.

“This is a great opportunity and a long time coming,” Day said. “This has been a dream of the mayor and the Cumming city council for many years and it’s finally coming to fruition. We’re very proud of what we’re offering.”

For more information, visit www.universitycenterga400.org.