Campus News Georgia Impact

New digs: Georgia Center ready to show off first phase of two-year, $1 million renovation

The Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel is inviting UGA employees and community members to the see the results of its $1 million overhaul.

“We’re excited to show off our renovations,” says Kim Rogers, the center’s sales manager. “I think a lot of people have either come to the Georgia Center years ago and have no idea how much we have changed or they have never been at all. We want to invite them to see what we’ve been adding.

“It’s been several years since we’ve had an open house, and this one is going to be quite something,” she also says. “People will not only see some of the new things we’ve been doing, but taste these things too.”

The open houses will be held on separate days for UGA employees and visitors. UGA faculty, staff and students can glimpse the center’s new styling from 4-6 p.m.
April 13. Other community members can visit from 4-6 p.m. May 11. Both events include free food and drink and a walking tour through some of the hotel’s upgraded suites and conference areas. Parking services will validate parking for UGA employees who park in the South Campus Parking Deck for the open house.

The renovations are coming in three phases, but so far only the first is completed. The ­project was financed by departments housed within the Georgia Center such as auxiliary services and food services.

Cheryl Prichard, department head for information technology services at the center, praises the conference rooms’ new equipment-wide-format projection screens, smart podiums and ceiling mounted speakers-all which are wired to the center’s master control room.

From a room in the middle of the second floor, the technology department can stop problems whack-a-mole style.

“We are going to be able to manage all this through the master control room,” Prichard says. “We can sit in one location and manage the entire floor and do whatever we need to do from that location without having to run into a conference room, interrupt the presentation and help somebody out.

“Sensors on the new technology warn the tech squad when bulbs are set to burn out or when it’s time for recommended maintenance checks on equipment,” she also says.

Video tools also allow any ­program to be broadcast in multiple rooms at once to accommodate overflow audiences and be recorded to DVD-R for absentees.

“We did the design based on the Student Learning Center, but we also visited other universities to see how they managed new technology,” Prichard says.

The hotel portion of the center also has been upgraded. The top-to-bottom overhaul of its first and second floors includes new wallpaper, bathroom fixtures and mattresses.

“The biggest thing we’ve completed is renovating all our suites,” says Bill Bradberry, the hotel manager. “The Regency King, our premier suite, has a bedroom done in Victorian style, with a parlor or hospitality area done in a more masculine style, with granite countertops and leather furniture. It has some amenities like a 42-inch flat screen TV with a DVD player and stereo system, a full bar, a fridge and an area to handle up to 25 people in a hospitality setting.”

Distinguished speakers and guests of the university or the board of regents typically stay at in the King suite. Former President George H. W. Bush used it when he was on campus April 7 for the dedication of the Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Services.

Visitors affiliated with the university, whether they’re conference speakers, guest lecturers, business partners or alumni, get reduced UGA rates at the hotel.

The renovation is the largest retooling of basic amenities since the center opened in 1957.