Despite the financial strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, state lawmakers have maintained strong financial support for higher education in Georgia. And the state’s fiscal year 2022 budget, which was signed into law in May of this year, will allow the University of Georgia to continue many critical capital projects designed to modernize campus facilities.
Perhaps the most visible of these projects are Building 2264, the new first-year dormitory under construction at the corner of Cloverhurst Avenue and Baxter Street, and the Interdisciplinary STEM buildings on East Campus Road.
Building 2264 will house first-year students in double-occupancy rooms beginning in fall 2022. Construction on the project began in December 2020 and is scheduled to conclude in July 2022, just in time for UGA to welcome the first-year fall class of 2026. It features an exterior courtyard and redesigned bus stop along Cloverhurst Avenue and is the first new residence hall since the construction of Rutherford Hall in 2013.
The Interdisciplinary STEM (or I-STEM) buildings are under construction in two phases. Together, they will expand laboratories for chemistry, engineering and other material sciences. The complex is designed to promote translational interdisciplinary research, ultimately advancing economic development across the state.
These new facilities also will complement infrastructure improvements for Science Hill, which will renew research and instructional facilities on UGA’s South Campus. Many of these buildings date back to the late 1950s and 1960s, and these renovations will ensure that students, faculty and staff have access to modern equipment and space for research and instruction.
The FY22 budget also provided $21.7 million in construction funds to build a new Poultry Science Building. The project will increase the size of the department of poultry science’s facilities to more than 70,000 square feet, modernizing instructional and lab space; providing centralized, student-focused facilities; and helping to attract and retain world-class researchers. The new building will be located on what is currently a parking lot between Boyd and Conner Halls.
State-of-the-art learning labs will bolster the traditional classroom experience with production courses, demonstrations and relevant field-learning exercises and contribute to the department’s expanding FFA, 4-H and other youth programs, as well as assist with student recruitment efforts. Construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2022 with completion in fall 2023.
The budget also provided $5 million for the construction of a multidisciplinary greenhouse complex on UGA’s Athens campus, which will help bridge the gap between laboratory and field experiments conducted by researchers in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
These are only a few of the major capital projects underway on campus. Construction has already begun or will begin soon on a number of other projects, including renovations to Driftmier Engineering, improvements to the College of Veterinary Medicine’s anatomy lab, an expansion of Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall and a renovation of the MFA film studio at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.