Macon State's new Warner Robins Campus
opens to rave reviews and a record enrollment
By Sheron Smith
A steady stream of
students seeks assistance in the Academic Services Building
during the first day of classes at the Warner Robins
by Danny Gilleland
first students showed up before 8 a.m., checked for their classroom
locations on a master schedule posted in the Academic Services
Building, then ambled through hallways still smelling of fresh
paint and new carpet. Some quickly discovered the student lounge
in Thomas Hall, where they sipped sodas and thumbed through new
textbooks while images from CNN flickered on the wall-mounted television.
It would be another week or so before the Office of Student Life
threw a grand opening party, complete with music, games and food,
but for the first day of classes at Macon State College’s
new Warner Robins Campus, the newness of it all was celebration
“This is really nice,” Master Sgt. Sonja Ramsey, a
business administration major stationed at nearby Robins Air Force
Base, said as she took a short break in the lobby of the Academic
Services Building. “It’s so much more convenient.”
members were equally enthused.
“It’s a fabulous facility,” said
Dr. Stephen Taylor, assistant professor of history. “Students
obviously love it, and that makes for a good learning environment.”
any measure, opening day at the MSC Warner Robins Campus was a
success. More than 1,500, a record Macon State enrollment in Houston
County, had registered for classes, with a noticeable increase
of recent high school graduates.
A security guard
directs traffic in one of the campus parking lots on
by Danny Gilleland
“Younger students want to
attend a college that has a traditional campus look and feel,” said
Mike Hale, the Warner Robins Campus’ executive director. “The
fact that we made sure this campus would have that look and feel
has clearly paid off with the influx of traditional students, although
our so-called non-traditional students — the working adults
who are raising families — seem to like it a lot, too.”
the midsummer completion of the new Warner Robins Campus, Macon
State moved out of the leased space off Houston Lake Road where
the College had offered classes since 1991. Enrollment at that
facility had grown rapidly in recent years and there was no room
to accommodate the growing student demand.
Besides solving the space
issues, Macon State wanted to provide a first-class college environment
for the people of Houston County. With the Warner Robins Campus’ high-tech
classrooms, multimedia lecture hall, academic resource center,
full-service bookstore and enhanced student activities, that’s
exactly what they got.
“What we had before was a teaching
said. “This is a college campus.”
A banner welcomes Warner
Robins Campus students at the main entrance.
The new campus is
the product of a remarkable collaboration between Macon State,
the University System of Georgia’s Board of
Regents and Houston County civic and business leaders.
S. Walker and the Warner Robins City Council secured the property
of the former Thomas School on Watson Boulevard and donated it
to the Board of Regents for use as a college campus. State Rep.
Larry Walker of Perry led the way in securing a $5 million appropriation
from the General Assembly to renovate the Thomas School and add
a new facility, the Academic Services Building. Neighboring Robins
Federal Credit Union donated property for parking, while the Nola
Brantley Memorial Library, another campus neighbor, offered its
services as an academic resource for students.
The importance of
the campus to Robins Air Force Base and Houston County was symbolized
in the decision by Dr. Thomas C. Meredith, the University System
of Georgia’s chancellor, to pay a visit
early in the semester.
“It was an extremely proud moment,” said
MSC President David A. Bell. “His visit gave me an opportunity
to present the results of the amazing partnership between Macon
State and the people of Houston County. We toured the classrooms
and labs of Thomas Hall and the new Academic Services Building,
and he clearly appreciated that we had achieved our collective
goal — creating
a community of learning with endless possibilities and promise.”
the Warner Robins Campus is offering the University System’s
core curriculum, the bachelor of science in information technology
and courses leading to the bachelor of science in business. Down
the road, there are plans to offer the “RN-to-BSN,” a
baccalaureate program designed for Registered Nurses that Macon
State is currently developing. Pending Georgia Board of Nursing
approval, Macon State will launch the RN-to-BSN completion program
next academic year.
Judith Schmitt (far left), an
English instructor, and Mike Hale (second from left),
campus executive director, talk with two students after
class on opening day.
by Danny Gilleland
Over time, the Warner Robins Campus will introduce
other academic programs that meet the professional workforce needs
of Robins Air Force Base and Houston County business and industry.
The campus is also the home of the Institute for Information Management,
the College’s business and technology outreach arm.
grand opening was great,” Hale said. “Where
the Warner Robins Campus goes from here is going to be even better.”
to take classes at the Macon State College Warner Robins Campus?
For information, call the campus at 929-6700 or visit http://www.maconstate.edu/wrc.
Admissions assistance is available in the Academic Services Building
from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and from 8
a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fridays.