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Georgia Southwestern revealed new name for student services building at grand opening

By Chelsea Collins

 

AMERICUS — Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) held a grand opening on Friday, February 19, for the school’s newly renovated $3.4 million student services building. Hurricane students will now be able to access essential student enrollment services under one roof at the one-stop shop, with the official new name of Canes Central.

The $3.4 million renovation will house multiple offices geared toward student success and is centrally located in the heart of campus.

Conveniently located in the eye of campus, Canes Central will house the offices of Recruitment and Admissions, Student Financial Aid, Student Accounts, and First-Year Experience. Students can receive application and registration assistance, seek face-to-face academic and college coaching, career advice, access financial aid information, guidance on bursar account, and receive tutoring services, among many other services.

“We wanted this building to be a place where students can connect with each other and GSW staff members focused on the support services needed to help navigate college,” said Laura Boren, Ph.D., executive vice president for Student Engagement and Success. “Canes Central is the location for students to handle core enrollment operations, and will also serve as a gathering space complete with comfort, convenience and functionality. Every one of us at GSW are here for the students, and we want them to succeed. Much of that success will start right here in this building.”

The two-story, 23,000 square-foot building was originally constructed in 1962 and has had many names and many uses over the years. Initially serving as the campus library and classroom building, it then transitioned to the nursing department and media center, and later shifted its focus to academic support with tutoring, advising, study space, workshops, and a computer lab – much of what it will be today. At its core, the 60-year old building has always been a space centered on student success and learning, which will continue on through Canes Central.

The recent renovation modernized the building while keeping the original mid-century modern architecture in mind. Unique features such as the geometric block wall on the exterior and floating staircase in the lobby – popular trends in the 1960s – remain intact. Inside, the contemporary design is completed with natural light, open concept floorplans, adjustable desks, and new seating options, all preserving the clean lines and classic forms of the building’s past.

“Georgia Southwestern is on the rise,” stated GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D. “and our enrollment numbers tell the story. With the opening of Canes Central, we will be able to continue this trend by providing the same personalized, quality services more efficiently and effectively for students – just now in one centralized location. This will undoubtedly simplify processes and transform the student experience.”

The building is outfitted with state-of-the-art technology, including a virtual queuing system where students can virtually enter lines of service via their mobile devices. Conference rooms and huddle rooms will feature wall-mounted flat panel displays, computers, and wireless device connectivity. Cutting edge Wi-Fi will also be available throughout the building.

Boren shares her excitement with all faculty, staff and students that this vision is finally taking shape.

“We believe this space will serve as a hub for students – whether it’s studying by themselves in a private area, collaborating with a student organization in a conference room, or getting essential student services in a timely manner. Student-centered care is at the heart of our approach, and we believe this will contribute to each and every one of our students’ success.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents allocated funding for the 3.4 million project back in 2018 in House Bill 684, Georgia’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget.

The building was designed by Studio 8 Design Architecture of Valdosta, and CGM Construction Group of Colquitt in charge of construction.

The Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting event took place on Friday, Feb. 19 at 1 p.m. in the Canes Central courtyard and the public was invited to attend. Following the ceremony, those in attendance were given the opportunity to walk through the newly renovated facility.