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Funding Approved for Sequoya Hall Renovation

After nearly 50 years, Dalton State’s oldest classroom building will get a facelift. The Georgia legislature has approved $4.1 million to renovate Sequoya Hall, the College’s original classroom building. The capital project was included in the budget passed last week by the legislature and awaits Governor Nathan Deal’s signature.

The Sequoya Hall project is the latest in a series of construction projects that has dramatically altered the Dalton State landscape over the past five years. Other state-funded construction projects include the renovation and expansion of Gignilliat Memorial Hall to house the Wright School of Business, renovation of the Pope Student Center, and construction of Peeples Hall which houses the College’s School of Science, Technology, and Mathematics. The campus has also seen the construction of Mashburn Hall residential housing, a public-private partnership between the College, the state, and a private developer, Corvias Campus Living, and the Health Professions Building, financed following the sale of property to Georgia Northwestern Technical College.

“We are fortunate to be the beneficiary of tremendous support from the state these last several years,” said Dr. Margaret Venable, president of Dalton State. “The state’s consistent funding of small and large capital projects on our campus demonstrates its ongoing support of the College and strengthens our efforts to be a first choice destination college for the students of our region.

“These improvements to our campus keep us moving forward, and these days if you’re not going forward, you’re going backward,” she said.

“We are forever grateful for the extraordinary efforts of Senators Jeff Mullis (a Dalton State alumnus) and Chuck Payne, and Representatives John Meadows, Bruce Broadrick, Jason Ridley, Steve Tarvin, and John Deffenbaugh to champion this funding through,” said Venable.

Sequoya Hall, according to Dr. Venable, was the only classroom building when Dalton Junior College opened for classes in September 1967. Among the subjects taught in Sequoya in the early years were typing, English, history, accounting, math, economics, and science. Prior to the opening of Peeples Hall in 2014 it housed the College’s chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, and nursing classes.

The building looks much as it did 50 years ago except for updates to carpet and paint and one modest expansion on the building’s south end in the 1980s.

The renovation will provide welcome overflow space for the College’s science, technology, and mathematics programs which have experienced dramatic growth in recent years, according to Dean Randall Griffus.

“We are hoping to renovate our science labs and possibly add another lab,” he said. “As our pre-engineering program continues to grow, we really need to separate our instructional spaces for geology and physics. Sequoya Hall is an old building; this will be a very welcome facelift.”

In addition to STM programs, the renovated Sequoya Hall will also house faculty offices and academic classrooms.

The bidding process on the small cap project should begin later this calendar year, according to Nick Henry, Dalton State’s vice president for fiscal affairs who oversees campus construction projects. He said design work should begin during calendar year 2018, and groundbreaking on the project may be as soon as spring 2019, after construction of the Wright School of Business is completed.