Officials of Dalton State College and Sasaki Associates of Boston, MA, Thursday unveiled a Master Plan for campus expansion and development designed to serve a student body of 8,000 for the next 10-12 years.
The plan, according to Dalton State President Dr. John O. Schwenn, anticipates a vibrant campus life that serves an increasing number of residential students. At the heart of the plan is a pedestrian pathway running along a central spine from the Roberts Library on the south end of the campus to The James E. Brown Center at the north. Both ends of the College grounds will be anchored by residential housing with expanded capacity to 2,000 beds. Parking, student support services and recreational facilities will be clustered on the periphery of the academic core.
There will be expanded space for parking, with some current parking areas converted to green space for active and passive recreation. An expanded and enhanced Pope Student Center with welcome center will become the new “front door” to the campus with ingress diverted from College Drive to George Rice Drive on the west side of the College.
Design of the Master Plan began last spring and is coordinated through the University System of Georgia’s Office of Real Estate and Facilities. The previous facilities plan, according to Dr. Schwenn, envisioned an enrollment of 5,500 students by 2015; Dalton State enrolled 5,988 students last fall. “While we do not project continued growth such as we have seen the last two years, we must plan for a future that calls for more younger-aged students who demand a more traditional college experience. We believe this plan will meet those needs, while still being flexible enough to accommodate needs we have not yet envisioned.”
The Master Plan does take into account a 70,000-square foot academic building that has been approved for construction by the Board of Regents, but not yet funded by the Georgia legislature. Funding for design work for the building, which will house general classrooms and additional laboratory space, has been allocated; it is anticipated that construction funds may be appropriated as soon as next year.
The Facilities Master Plan will align with an Academic Master Plan to ensure there are adequate resources to support a growing number of degree programs, according to Dr. Sandra Stone, Vice President for Academic Affairs. Currently under development and scheduled to be submitted to the Board of Regents for approval during the next academic year are baccalaureate programs in Nursing, General Studies, Communication, Psychology, Digital Design, Information Technology (Networking/Security), Health Informatics, Respiratory Therapy, Environmental Science, Forensic Science, Middle Grades Education, and Economics. An associate’s degree in Music will also be submitted.
Long term plans call for development of several more bachelor’s programs, as well as master’s programs in selected areas, Stone said.