Construction of a new student center that will be the focal point of the Piedmont College campus is under way at the intersection of Georgia Street and Laurel Avenue in Demorest.
Piedmont President James Mellichamp, students, members of the Board of Trustees, and representatives of architectural and construction firms involved in the project held a ground breaking ceremony on May 1 to formally begin work on the 58,000-square-foot, $14 million project.
Mellichamp said construction of a student center was badly needed, given the recent growth in enrollment and increase in the number of dormitories on campus. The college can currently house some 650 students on campus. "I think it is going to have an impact on our ability to recruit students—it will be equal to—or better—than student centers at larger colleges in the Southeast."
The two-story building will include dining facilities, a fitness center and gymnasium for intramural sports, group study rooms, a banquet and conference area, bookstore, and offices for student services and student organizations. The atrium will feature a rock climbing wall.
Construction of the student center is being financed largely by Community Bank & Trust through the use of a revenue bond passed through the Habersham County Development Authority and guaranteed by the college, said John Misner, Executive Vice President for Institutional Resources and Dean of the School of Business. "This is a good time to begin construction since loan interest rates are low, as are construction costs."
Caption: Fireworks provided by the Piedmont Theatre Department capped a ground breaking ceremony at Piedmont College on Wednesday as officials marked the beginning of construction on the college's new student center. Pictured from left are Judy Taylor of the Habersham County Chamber of Commerce, Piedmont Student Government officers Sam Thomas and Courtney Benson, President James Mellichamp, Board Chairman Thomas A. 'Gus' Arrendale, Mike Grizzel of Scroggs and Grizzel Contracting, and Demorest Mayor Malcolm Hunnicutt.