New buildings and renovations are changing the Georgia Southern landscape
The past year brought additional change and expansion to Georgia Southern University with the completion of three multi-million dollar projects — the renovated Lakeside Dining Commons, the new Dining Commons and the new Biological Sciences Building.
“Our University is extremely fortunate to have opened three world-class facilities that provide our students with what they truly deserve — enhanced educational opportunities, access to cutting-edge technology and an array of dining options,” said President Brooks A. Keel, Ph.D. “Georgia Southern is on the move and these projects demonstrate our commitment to attract more students to our campus and new businesses and industries to our area.”
Lakeside Dining Commons
Lakeside Dining Commons (formerly Lakeside Cafe) is back in operation after undergoing a dramatic yearlong $6.6 million transformation that doubled the size to serve more than 500 customers. Most of the building was gutted, and only about 20 percent of the original building remains in the renovated facility. For the first time, Lakeside has a full service kitchen to offer students expanded dining options that include a fresh fruit and salad bar, pizza, pasta and hibachi and Tex-Mex stations.
The nearly 28,000-square-foot facility overlooks Lake Ruby offering diners some of the best views of the Georgia Southern campus.
Dining Commons, the University’s main dining facility, was completed just before the arrival of more than 20,000 students for the fall semester. The 75,000-square-foot facility offers a wide variety of fresh and flavorful dishes and can accommodate 1,100 customers. At the seven stand-alone food stations, students can choose made-to-order dishes, sample international foods, feast on traditional home-style meals or opt for special dietary needs foods.
The $18.4 million Dining Commons is located on the site of the old Landrum Center adjacent to the University Store. The facility also houses the Post Office, Eagle Print Shop and Eagle Card Center. Dining Commons is open from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and closes two hours earlier on Fridays. It opens at 8:30 a.m. on weekends, closes at 9 p.m. on Saturday and 11 p.m. Sunday.
Biological Sciences Building
The biggest project — the $41 million Biological Sciences Building, located at the corner of Old Register Road and Forest Drive — officially opened in August at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by the Statesboro-Bulloch County legislative delegation, and local and University dignitaries.
The state-of-the-art 158,000-square-foot facility is designed to enhance scientific research and learning, and to provide students with exceptional research opportunities. The academic building has five active learning classrooms, 10 teaching labs, 15 research labs, specialized research facilities and faculty offices.
The new herpetology and wet collections facility is home to two research collections (herpetology and ichthyology), plus teaching collections for herpetology, ichthyology, marine invertebrates and terrestrial invertebrates. Lance McBrayer, Ph.D., the curator of the herpetology collection, said it contains 35,000+ specimens, with the other collections adding approximately 2,000.
“Several rare, threatened and endangered species are housed in the collections, including gopher tortoises, indigo snakes and flatwoods salamanders,” said McBrayer. “This facility is much larger and more centralized than former spaces, thereby making it much more useful and safer. Plus, the facility allows for room for growth in each collection and it has more bench space, which is now ventilated and thus safer for students and visiting researchers alike. In just about every way, this facility is light years ahead of our former space.”
Biology Department Chair Steve Vives, Ph.D., said the space will help turn students into scientists and inspire their imaginations and creativity. “When a facility accomplishes these goals, we can reach the best faculty and students and have them work to their potential,” he added. - Sandra Bennett
Shooting Sports Complex
The University recently held a groundbreaking for the new $5.8 million Shooting Sports Education Center, located at the corner of Old Register Road and Veterans Memorial Parkway. Construction is expected to take between 12 to 18 months to complete the 30,000-square-foot facility, which will include a public indoor archery and firing ranges as well as an outdoor archery range. The Center will also be the home of the Georgia Southern women’s rifle team, and the mission of the facility is to educate hunters and archers to be responsible shooting sports enthusiasts and promote safe firearms and bow handling.
The Center will be the only facility of its kind east of the Mississippi River, and will provide learning and recreational experiences for many students and introduce them to the world of shooting sports. The Center is expected to boost the local economy by bringing thousands of visitors to campus and Statesboro each year for training, tournaments and competitions.
The Center is a partnership between Georgia Southern and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Funding for the facility includes a $3.5 million grant secured by the DNR, along with private donations made to the University as well as support from the Easton Foundation and the City of Statesboro. - Mary Beth Spence
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