ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Education accreditation and consulting firm Cognia cut the ribbon on its new 40,000-square-foot Building II on Oct. 28 in Alpharetta.
The event marked the second decade of business for the company and drew a crowd of more than 100 business and education leaders. The new four-story office building adjoins the company’s headquarters on Westside Parkway.
The new building almost doubles the footprint of the company, formerly known as AdvancEd, the world’s largest accrediting body. AdvancEd merged with Measured Progress, a world leader in standards-based assessment, in June 2018.
The company has called Alpharetta home for 10 years, and Cognia President and CEO Mark Elgart said the reason is simple.
“Alpharetta provided us the benefit of access to all of what I call quality-of-life factors — great school system, great health care, a really family-oriented development of their parks, their greenway, recreational programs for kids and their families,” Elgart said. “It also provides us access to a very talented, diverse workforce, the ability to recruit talent.”
Elgart said the new building, estimated at roughly $13 million, is an investment in the future of the company and the city.
“The new building will be the home of our Center for Innovation where research and development intersect with product design and strategic partnership development,” said Elgart.
Cognia Chairman of the Board Dan Caton said Cognia Building II has been in the making for a few years.
“When the board voted to merge the best and most widely known accreditation and school improvement organization in the world with the foremost experts in assessment, my board colleagues, and I knew that we were building something special,” Caton said. “You’re going to see a new building, but what we’re talking about is a new organization that bridges the old and the new.”
The new four-story building includes an enclosed, fourth-floor walkway that connects the same sustainability effort that drove construction of the AdvancEd corporate headquarters in 2010.
The design, construction and outfitting of the building was a collaborative process between Cognia staff and the organization’s construction team, including the architecture firm Warren Epstein & Associates and general contractor, JE Dunn Construction Co. — the same contractors who worked on the 2010 construction of the AdvancED corporate headquarters — in partnership with furniture provider partner, Atlanta’s Office Furniture Expo.
The building was designed and built with leading-edge technology, all with environmental consciousness in mind.
• Insulated outside exterior wall panels intricately made and pieced together like a puzzle. These panels overlaid over the steel structure help to control temperature changes.
• Low emissive roof that reflects sunlight.
• Low Volatile Organic Compounds paint which reduces harmful gasses emitted by conventional paint thus providing healthier and cleaner air in the building.
• A system that redirects ground water back into the ground preventing storm water run-off into local streams and sewer system.
• LED lighting throughout.
• Construction materials made with recycled composite materials.
• Building II was built over existing parking space to leave greenspace untouched.
Cognia, as it has done in its main headquarters building, will commission local artists to create one-of-a-kind works of art to display throughout the building.