Please Pardon Our Progress

We are now in the full swing of summer which, in Georgia, typically means heat and humidity and afternoon thunderstorms, as well as vacations and visits to the pool and other outdoor recreation. At Dalton State, there are additional activities we associate with summer. While in some respects summer is a quieter time on our campus, it is in many ways busier than ever. Like ducks on a pond, we may look serene, but we’re paddling fast and furiously underneath the surface.

It is true that we teach fewer classes during the summer, but we have plenty of students on campus finalizing fall schedules and participating in freshman orientation. At the same time, we are hiring faculty and staff and helping new employees with benefits selections, office location, keys and ID cards. It is also the time of year when we close out one fiscal budget and launch the new one, and many employees participate in professional development activities in preparation for the new academic year.

Summer is the ideal time to perform those tasks that make our campus sparkle and make us all proud to be at Dalton State. Landscaping, pressure washing, painting, HVAC and roof repairs, as well as furniture rearrangement are typical summer activities for our Plant Operations staff. Last summer, we replaced the sign that announces the college’s presence to those driving along I-75; this summer, we are replacing additional campus signage.

Additionally, we are in the midst of the renovation and expansion of Gignilliatt Memorial Hall, the building that houses our Wright School of Business. Frankly, it is not an attractive sight to see the dirt, rocks, dump trucks and other equipment behind temporary fencing in the heart of the campus, but I remind myself every time I walk past it that this construction project is a sign of progress, and we will be looking at a beautiful and functional facility in just a few more months.

The design for the renovation of Sequoya Hall is now complete, but we will wait to begin that work until we have re-opened Gignilliatt Memorial Hall in January. We’ve reconfigured some spaces in Roberts Library to better serve our students and community patrons and to highlight our Bandy Heritage Center.

Work will begin soon on a facelift of the front and rear entrances to our administration building, Westcott Hall. This is where prospective students and their parents come to complete admission applications, discuss financial aid, tweak class schedules, and pay tuition and fees. Westcott is often a visitor’s first stop at Dalton State, and we are aware that it creates that critical first impression. We want to inspire confidence and stimulate interest among our visitors to campus.

The interior of the building was renovated several years ago, but nothing was done to the exterior at that time. We have long needed a more refined and professional exterior to this important building, but we have postponed this work in deference to items that more closely serve our core mission of educating students. We have repainted, re-carpeted and replaced furniture and technology in our classrooms many times since the façade of the administration building was last updated. While we need to continue updating our classrooms, we must acknowledge that other areas of campus also require some attention.

As always, we hope to be the college this community deserves, a first-choice destination college. As Greater Dalton is focused on revitalizing our community, so is Dalton State. We will always work to improve our student success rates, our academic programs, and salaries for our faculty and staff, but this summer we are also pushing ourselves to improve our curb appeal. I hope you will visit us soon and often to watch our progress!