Macon State's new Warner Robins
Campus is well on its way to completion, while the College's new professional
sciences complex begins to take shape.
A second-floor entrance to Phase
I of a professional science complex features a glass-topped
by Bruce Radcliffe
By Renee Pearman
Talk about a room with a view. From the third floor of what will
be Phase I of a professional sciences complex at Macon State College,
you get a panorama of the campus lake, the surrounding flora and
fauna, and the eye-catching Student Life Center, which peeks from
behind the pines.
Of course, to be standing on the third floor at this stage of
construction means you must be wearing a hard hat and fighting any
fear of heights. But just wait until this time next year.
“I’ve never seen a building like this,” said
MSC President David A. Bell. “Simply put, it’s going
to be spectacular. This project has been in the works since 1997.
We’re fortunate that its completion will coincide with the
expansion of our nursing program.”
The first of two academic buildings that will comprise a nursing,
health sciences and outreach complex should be completed early in
2004, according to David Sims, director of Plant Operations at Macon
State. It will be the College’s first three-story structure.
Phase I, with a price tag of $16.2 million, was designed by John
Portman & Associates, an architectural firm in Atlanta that
has received worldwide recognition for its distinctive work in mixed-use
urban complexes and collegiate campus environments.
Its distinguishing features include a glass-topped atrium, barrel-vaulted
standing seam metal roof and glass curtain wall overlooking the
campus lake. The 76,000-square-foot building will be completely
prepared for information technology and distance learning, Sims
Phase I will be home to the Division of Nursing and Health Sciences
and the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
Preservation of the architectural
features of the Thomas School, such as these windows, are
part of its renovation.
by Bruce Radcliffe
“Offices, classrooms and labs for Natural Sciences and Math
will occupy the third floor,” Sims said. “On the second
floor will be the health sciences programs, including health information
technology, health information management, health services administration
and respiratory therapy. A lecture hall, as well as nursing classrooms
and state-of-the-art labs, will be on the first floor.”
The University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents has appointed
the renowned architectural firm Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback and
Associates (TVS) in Atlanta to design the 100,000-square-foot Phase
II, which has an estimated cost of $21.3 million and is 10th on
the Regents’ capital construction priority list. The academic
divisions of Information Technology and Business will move to Phase
II, which also will have a conference center, according to Sims.
Warner Robins Campus
More Macon State construction goes on 20 miles from the site of
On Watson Boulevard, between the Nola Brantley Memorial Library
and the Robins Federal Credit Union, is Macon State’s new
Warner Robins Campus, which will open in time for fall classes.
“We’re on schedule, and everything is going very well,”
Workers have completed the frame of the 24,000-square-foot, two-story
annex located directly behind the Charles Thomas School, which is
undergoing major renovations.
The renovation and modernization of the Thomas School and construction
of the annex, designed by SP Design Group, began last spring. The
58-year-old Thomas School, located a half-mile from Robins Air Force
Base, was purchased by the Warner Robins City Council and donated
to the Board of Regents for use as a college campus. Last year,
State Rep. Larry Walker of Perry helped secure a $5 million appropriation
for the Warner Robins Campus project from the Georgia General Assembly.
“The Thomas School is one of the oldest buildings in Warner
Robins,” Sims said. “In our rehabilitation of the school,
we’re following the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s
standards for treatment of historic properties. Throughout the project,
we’ve had wonderful support from Mayor Donald Walker, the
Warner Robins City Council and the entire community.”
The new Warner Robins Campus includes
the Thomas School and a two-story annex, shown here under
construction, located directly behind it.
by Bruce Radcliffe
The original Thomas building will house classrooms, information
technology labs, and some faculty offices while the annex will include
technology-driven “smart” classrooms, administrative
and faculty offices, a multimedia lecture hall, a conference room
and a student lounge/study area.
Students have been attending Macon State classes in Houston County
since 1970, when the University System opened the Robins Resident
Center at Robins AFB. The new Warner Robins Campus is Macon State’s
first permanent campus in Houston County.
“This is just the beginning,” Bell said, referring
to the new campus, which will have triple the space of the College’s
12-year- old Warner Robins Center in the Advanced Technology Park
off Houston Lake Road. “Macon State’s expansion in Houston
County is what Houston County deserves.”
Houston County residents comprised more than 26 percent of MSC’s
fall 2002 enrollment, while military and out-of-state students,
the majority of whom are connected to Robins AFB, made up another
14 percent. The combined enrollment at the Warner Robins Center
and Robins Resident Center last fall was more than 1,500.
Macon Campus Master Plan
Back in Macon, the geese and ducks nesting around the campus lake
appear not to be disturbed by the constant noise of bulldozers and
tractors. In fact, construction equipment has been part of the Macon
State landscape since the mid-1990s.
The original campus, which opened in 1968, included six buildings
totaling 133,400 square feet.
Within a few years, another academic building, an auditorium and
a gymnasium were completed. In 1995, the Humanities and Social Sciences
building and the Arts Complex and Theatre opened. Three years later,
work started on the 75,400-square-foot, two-story Student Life Center.
One year after the Student Life Center opened in 2000, a campus
road project got underway, and that was followed by the groundbreaking
for Phase I of a professional sciences complex. With the addition
of these buildings, the original campus facilities nearly doubled
Geese do not seem to be disturbed
by noises from the construction site across the MSC campus
lake. Phase I of a professional sciences complex will be the
College’s first three-story structure.
by Bruce Radcliffe
The physical growth of the campus has been part of Macon State’s
master plan, which included building new academic and other facilities,
reconfiguring roads and pedestrian pathways, and shaping well-defined
east and west campus areas.
Several years ago, the Board of Regents required Georgia’s
34 public colleges and universities to devise physical master plans
to help them determine what kinds of facilities and other infrastructure
they need to support their academic missions.
“The master plan is a sketch of the campus of the future,”
Bell said when the College’s plan was being developed. “Our
task is to build on what we have to create a modern, warm, inviting
campus that students and faculty find engaging and is more conducive
With the development of Phase I on the west side of the campus
comes a new 200-space parking area, additional lighting and landscaping,
and a pedestrian plaza leading from the Library to the latest building.
Other projects include new signage and road improvements.
One of two new MSC signs was located
at Columbus Road entrance, which reconfigured to align with
by Bruce Radcliffe
The Eisenhower Parkway and Columbus Road entrances to the College
are now more clearly marked by 10-foot lighted signs mounted on
brick pedestals. The blue and white signs featuring the MSC logo
were designed by Bob Brown of the Macon architectural firm Brittain,
Thompson, Bray, Brown Inc. Also, intersection signs better direct
students and visitors to east and west campus buildings and parking
“The new double-sided entrance signs are not only more attractive
but can be seen by people traveling both east and west on Eisenhower
Parkway and Columbus Road,” Sims said. “The signs they
replaced were brick with aluminum lettering on one side only, which
means they could only be seen by west-bound travelers on either
And finally, a $1.2 million campus road project — funded
by the Macon-Bibb County Road Improvement Program, the Georgia Department
of Transportation and Macon State College — was completed
last fall. Moreland Altobelli and Associates Inc. managed the project
for Macon-Bibb County.
The reconfiguration of College Station Drive, which is a county
road, not only improved the traffic flow in and around the campus
but also changed and renovated the Eisenhower Parkway and Columbus
Road entrances to the campus, provided a loop road for east-to-west
access and added curbing.
“The Eisenhower entrance was shifted a short distance to
the west, plus a median was added, and we created two lanes entering
and two lanes exiting,” Sims said. “The original entrance
from Columbus Road was just beyond the I-475 overpass, which made
it hard to see west-bound traffic coming from the bridge. That entrance
is now aligned with Interstate Parkway.”
Improved roads, enhanced signs, new buildings. What’s next?