Robins Campus Going Strong
Board of Regents Accepts Gift of
70 Acres For Future Campus Expansion
Bob Dixon talks about computer hardware and software
concepts in his IT class, which meets in the Academic Services
Building on the Warner Robins Campus.
Story and Photos By Renee Pearman
That's how long it takes Connie Watts to drive from her home in
northwest Houston County to Macon State College's Warner Robins
"Convenience. That's what I like best about the Warner
Robins Campus," said the 20 - year - old Watts, who is a full - time
student with a job. "The campus isn't far from my house, and
it's close to my work. I'm getting a great education close to
home. What more can I ask?"
This spring she has four morning classes, which end around noon.
She then heads to her job at the Robins Air Force Base commissary.
"That's about a three minute - drive," she said.
A sophomore studying computer science, Watts is among the more
than 1,530 students taking classes at the Warner Robins Campus
during spring semester. That figure represents a 23 percent
increase over last spring when Macon State taught classes in
leased space in the Advanced Technology Park.
MSC moved its classes from the center to the Warner Robins
Campus, which opened last fall with an enrollment of more than
1,500. The new campus is located on Watson Boulevard, across
from City Hall and just a half - mile from the main gate at Robins
Air Force Base.
"This growth has exceeded our expectations and validates what we
had always known, that Houston County was more than ready for a four
- year college and a permanent Macon State campus," said Mike Hale,
executive director of the WRC.
Dwana Smith of Fort Valley reviews her notes in the Student
Lounge before heading to her next class.
"This is just a beautiful campus," said Dwana Smith of Fort
Valley, who was surprised to learn that Thomas Hall, where her
English and algebra classes meet, is, in fact, nearly 60 years old,
making it the oldest public building in Warner Robins.
"I thought it was brand new," Smith said.
Following an extensive renovation, the former elementary school
now houses classrooms, technology labs and a student lounge/study
area. Adjacent to Thomas Hall is a new 24,000 - square - foot,
two - story Academic Services Building that includes technology -
driven "smart" classrooms, science labs, administrative and faculty
offices, a bookstore, conference rooms and a multimedia lecture
Most mornings, the Thomas Hall lounge is crowded with students,
who are grabbing a quick snack, holding study sessions with
classmates, watching the latest CNN news or reviewing their notes
before heading to their next class. It's a nice place to
either crack the books or take a break from them, said Carletta
Duncan of Montezuma.
"When I was laid off from my job, I started looking for a career
change, so I enrolled at this campus," said the 29 - year - old, who
is interested in nursing or public service. "I really like the
Warner Robins Campus because everything is right here. I can
register for classes, get advised, buy my books and catch up on my
studies in the lounge."
At the Warner Robins Campus, Macon State offers the entire core
curriculum of the University System of Georgia as well as the
bachelor of science degree in information technology and courses
leading to the bachelor of science degree in business.
The campus also has an academic resource center and a slate of
student activities, which this spring include a Georgia Shakespeare
Company production, a film festival, health and career seminars and
Macon State College junior Wade Griner, who is working
toward a bachelor of science degree, does research at the Nola
Brantley Memorial Library next door to the Warner Robins
Campus. Macon State has partnered with the Library to
enhance services to students.
At a dedication ceremony for the Warner Robins Campus last June,
Mayor Donald Walker said he believed student enrollment would
continue to thrive and the campus would grow in the years to come.
He also announced his intention to ask the Warner Robins City
Council to donate approximately 72 acres of city - owned land
adjacent to the campus to the University System's Board of Regents
for the benefit of Macon State College. And with that
announcement, he and MSC President David A. Bell unveiled a drawing
of a master plan showing additional academic buildings, recreational
facilities and a workforce development center.
In December, the Warner Robins City Council voted to transfer
the property, located behind Thomas Hall and the Academic Services
Building, to the Regents for the future expansion of Macon State's
new campus. The Regents formally accepted the land, valued at
more than $1.1 million, at their March 2004 meeting.
According to Bell, the land will be used to expand campus
facilities to meet the academic and professional workforce needs of
Houston County and Robins Air Force Base.
"Thanks to their wisdom and foresight, Mayor Walker and members
of the City Council have ensured that Macon State College will serve
as an educational and economic engine for this community for
generations to come," Bell said.
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