Georgia State’s $85.2 million project for Aug. 2022

Construction workers have begun work on the adjacent addition to Library North. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

Georgia State’s current projects — the greenway, Hurt Park’s renovation and the convocation center — have been criticized after announcing these projects’ budgets. Since last year, Georgia State withdrawals have increased by 10% after students moved to online learning. 

The patronage of the projects

It’s not clear if enough students will be on campus to enjoy the projects after crews complete their renovations.

Zuri Nelson, a senior at Georgia State, felt the construction projects would be a good addition to the campus. 

“I like that [Georgia State] is adding some features to make going there feel more like the “typical” experience other students at other schools may get,” she said.

As The Signal reported last month, around 9,000 students have withdrawn from classes this semester.

As of Nov. 15, 1,599 students are enrolled in face-to-face classes across all campuses. Out of 4,614 undergraduate classes next semester, 2,893 (about 63%) are completely online.

Campus dining halls have already seen a decline in service, partially stemming from the volume of online classes, albeit on Perimeter campuses.

Many other restaurants near Georgia State have closed down due to COVID-19 causing less traffic throughout the university.

The number of students remaining at home these upcoming semesters has risen, along with those who will take virtual classes. 

The convocation center

On Nov. 11, Andrea Jones posted an article to the Georgia State News Hub, celebrating broken ground for the new Convocation Center, which will house basketball events and ceremonies. The project is estimated to cost around $85.2 million.

“The new facility will also include classroom and academic support space as well as the ability to accommodate large conferences and esports tournaments,” the article stated.

The convocation center will provide indoor space for various large gatherings; it will also be the new home of Panthers basketball.

The center will have the capacity to hold 7,300 people for basketball games, 7,500 for graduation events and 8,000 for concerts. This new renovation is an upgrade in construction compared to the previous center, which had a maximum capacity of 3,500 seats. 

Construction for the project began this week. The site will be completed in August 2022.

The center is one of Georgia’s State’s latest construction projects purchased for retail development in 2017.

Progress on the greenway and library addition

The greenway site has not changed much, but the blue fabric that once covered the fences is now somewhat peeled off.

Construction workers have begun work on the adjacent addition to Library North and have constructed a wall surrounding the library’s doors to what used to be Kell Hall.

Adam Porter, a worker on the site, said Macallan Real Estate, based in Marietta, oversees the project. Collins Cooper Carusi Architects, based in Atlanta, designed the library addition.

Library North is still only accessible through Library South because construction for the greenway is not complete. 

Construction has also started on the lighted walkway that will soon cross through the greenspace connecting Collins Street to Peachtree Center Avenue.

The finished project will include two new staircases, one that connects the Courtland Street bridge to a revamped ground-level entrance to Sparks Hall, and the other will link Langdale Plaza to the greenway down below. Crews will begin landscaping the communal green space, with benches and a bike trail. Students may use this space to have a place to sit, camp or study. 

Macallan has worked with Georgia State before. The contractor also gave House Walker Architecture the job of designing the weight room’s expansion.

Meanwhile, Collins Cooper Carusi has done similar projects for Georgia State, including the CETL and CURVE rooms in the Library building and the Student Success Center on Georgia State’s Decatur Campus.

In fact, Collins Cooper Carusi is the concessionaire for Corvias, the housing agency for the University System of Georgia; Corvias tasked the architectural firm with adding over 7,000 new beds to nine campuses.

Pond & Co is finishing the adjacent greenway. Based in Peachtree Corners, the architectural company has also done projects for various schools in the University System of Georgia. However, its main specialization is in infrastructure.

Porter is a worker of Porter Steel, a structural steel company based in Lilburn, Georgia, that MacMillan contracted for the project. 

The greenway can be  expected to be complete and open to the public by the end of the spring 2021 semester.

Progress on Hurt Park

At Hurt Park, the pavement is almost completely gone. Orange fabric fences surround what will be a centerpiece pavement in the park.

In a budget meeting on Oct. 21, Vice President Ramesh Vakamudi, said the plan is to repair the fountain and redo the paved paths.

A few scattered homeless people hang out in neighboring Woodruff Park, which the Atlanta Urban Design Commission predicted would be one of the renovation’s effects in their 2019 staff report. 

In September, Atlantans criticized Georgia State’s renovation for failing to address the issue of homelessness. Homeless people who once lived in the park now sleep on sidewalks or in neighboring parks.

Kimberly Bauer, senior director of Design and Construction Facilities Management, has not responded to media inquiries by The Signal.

Georgia State has several large projects set for the coming years. If the pandemic continues and, along with it, quarantine and online-learning measures, these projects may not find patrons.