Nursing School gets $1 million expansion

Photo by Vanessa Johnson | The Signal

As the semester wraps up, as does Georgia State’s final fall construction project in Student Center West. What once was the College of Law library in Urban Life and SCW will soon become the new home of the Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions.

The expansion has generated plenty of unwelcome noise, with the sounds of drills and hammers vibrating through the walls of student media offices regularly. WRAS 88.5 FM, Georgia State’s student-run radio station, has been particularly affected by the noise, as they broadcast live every day.

Kenleigh Watkins, Album 88’s general manager, said she had hoped the construction wouldn’t last as long as it has.

“The construction has been a nightmare. We thought that it was over when the bridge was finished. Now they are doing construction beneath us. It seems like it’s been nonstop for a semester. It gets so loud [sometimes] and it can be heard [through] the microphones while we are on air,” she said.

Georgia State TV, the student-ran broadcast organization, is also located in SCW. GSTV’s Panther Report News Assistant News Director Kevin Sanchez said they’ve also heard the noise but it hasn’t really affected their work.

“We can hear it sometimes when we’re shooting [on] Friday but it hasn’t affected the sound quality at all,” he said.

The project will cost $1 million, according to the Director of Facilities Design and Construction Services Todd Cook.

“The project will be complete and open for the beginning of the Spring Semester,” Cook said. “University funds are being used to fund the Project.”

The project is being constructed in two phases, with the first being further divided based on task and cost, according to Richard Frey, the superintendent representing DPR construction, a California-based construction firm that has previously worked with other universities,

“They’ve actually got three separate contracts to do this,” Frey said. “We need to be done with this thing end of November, middle of December.”

The other two contractors are E. Escher, the firm responsible for plumbing and electrical systems, and John F. Pennebaker Co, Inc., which builds the fire alarm system and air conditioning and heating. HOK is the architecture firm designing the project.

“We are working as a team … The three of us sit down and we work as a single team. We don’t have one contractor in charge of everything that organizes everything. We do that in a collaboration which is a little unusual,” Frey said. “We have meetings every week with Georgia State, the architect and the whole team down here that works.”

The first phase is primarily focused on installing plumbing, drywall and flooring. The second phase is set to furnish the space and complete the expansion with more drywall and lighting.

“There’s so much redo in this place it’s unbelievable,” Frey said.

The expansion features new classrooms as well as new labs.

“The Project is an interior renovation for the [Byrdine] F. Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions. The renovated space is approximately 20,000 square feet and includes labs and classrooms,” Cook said.

One of the new labs being constructed is a gait lab, which will be used for sports medicine and physical therapy classes to track athletes’ gaits.

“We had to put stuff in the floor for them so it’ll be ready. This will be finished out but for right now they’re working on design,” Frey said.

The new nursing school expansion will also have a handicap bathroom and a handicap-accessible entrance. The main entrance for the school will be on the same level as the entrance to Chick-fil-A underneath the Courtland Street Bridge.

The expansion comes in time for the overall renovation of Library Plaza, which is scheduled for sometime in the next year. With the plaza set to be lowered to street level, it’s expected to flow into SCW and the College of Nursing.