By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Georgia Gwinnett College welcomed about 11,000 students for the first day of classes for the fall 2014 semester, which began Aug. 18.

GGC welcomes about 11,000 students for fall semester

About 11,000 students began classes on August 18, 2014 at Georgia Gwinnett College, setting a new enrollment record as the college continues its pattern of dramatic growth. 

The student body includes about 3,700 new students, many of whom were welcomed into the college community by the recent “March Through the Arch” ceremony. This GGC tradition gives new students an opportunity to celebrate the start of their college experience, hear encouraging words from student and administrative leaders and socialize with faculty and each other. 

About 30 students are members of GGC’s charter nursing class, which was celebrated late last week in a ceremony that included a meaningful “dedication of hands.” Nursing is one of two new baccalaureate programs at GGC, the other being chemistry. Both will be housed in the college’s new Allied Health and Sciences (AHS) building, which was completed this summer.

“The opening of the AHS building enabled us to position the college for future growth and more efficient operations,” said Stas Preczewski, president. “Over the summer, dozens of offices and services were strategically relocated into new or renovated areas.” Planning for the complex, coordinated moving process began several months ago.

This resulted in the creation of a convenient “one-stop shop” for many key student services in Building D, including Admissions, Financial Aid, the Registrar’s Office, Testing Services, Student Accounts, Veterans Affairs, Disability Services, International Services, the Advising Center and Parking Decals.

Also new this fall are several dining options for students, including Chic-fil-A, Panda Express, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Jamba Go and Subway. A campus Starbucks will open in a few months. The restaurants are located to provide students quick access to dining no matter where they may be on campus. Dining seating also has been significantly expanded in Building A.

Completion of the AHS construction and property leasing agreements allowed the college to re-open 126 and introduce 697 new student parking spaces. A new campus traffic plan enhances pedestrian safety within the center of campus by keeping traffic on perimeter streets.

The efficient use of its facilities has earned the college a 72 percent space utilization rate, the highest within the University System of Georgia. Through a competitive bid process, GGC recently contracted with new facilities, security and dining management companies, resulting in significant savings and improved services for students. 

The three-story, 91,000-sq. ft. AHS building provides a large variety of facilities for the college, including three physics laboratories, six biology laboratories, seven chemistry laboratories, four anatomy and physiology laboratories, and one lab each for psychology, exercise science, IT systems and digital media. 

The nursing program is supported by a state-of-the-art simulation learning center with a central control room equipped with wireless technology for managing patient bed simulations. It also contains a 14-bed patient care/clinical practice laboratory.

In addition, the AHS building contains three classrooms, eight student study/commons areas, 36 faculty offices and the administrative offices of the School of Science and Technology and the School of Health Sciences. 

The long-awaited building not only serves the entire student body, most of which require at least some science courses, it fills the space needs for the college’s rapidly growing science majors. Enrollment in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degree programs is growing at a faster rate than the college’s overall enrollment.