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Vision

Sunday, March 25, 2018 | The Newnan Times-Herald — 1D

Take a look at what’s in store for Coweta County this year

2018 PHOTO BY REBECCA LEFTWICH

University of West Georgia President Kyle Marrero, left, and Dr. David Jenks, associate vice president of academic affairs for UWG, look over one of the areas that will soon be under construction to create more space for Newnan campus degree programs. Read the story on page 7D.

Business Open for Business City Council examines future of growth in the city of Newnan, on page 2D

COMmunity Coweta working ahead Coweta County is taking two major steps in 2018 that deal with changes and growth in the community, on page 4D

By city Senoia’s vision Senoia is seeing steady residential growth, on page 6D


2D — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Sunday, March 25, 2018

Vision 2018

Newnan: Open for Business City Council examines future of growth in the city

BY CLAY NEELY

clay@newnan.com

On March 1, members of the Newnan City Council gathered on the 5th floor of Piedmont Newnan Hospital for their annual retreat. While the annual meeting has taken place in the boardroom of the hospital for the last several years, this marked the final time the group will meet here. A week following the meeting, the hospital began renovating the entire floor of corporate offices into 18 new patient rooms. Discussing the future of the city usually revolves around the topic of growth, and this year, it was more apparent than ever. Looking out from t h e s o o n- t o - b e r e n o vated boardroom, council members and staff stared directly into the ongoing development across the street on Poplar Road. Newnan is growing, and so far, the council seems satisfied in the current direction. Commercia l retail continues to climb a nd va r ious con str uction projects are scattered throughout the city limits. However, it now seems the city has come to a crossroads, and is finding itself in a possible identity crisis. Is the city really “open for business” and, if so, who are they looking to recruit? The topic , broache d dur ing the meeting, sparked a flurry of discussion from council members and city staff. While the city maintains a business-friendly

attitude towa rd new development, City Manager Cleatus Phillips said Newnan is still a relatively new candidate for developers who are accustomed to taking projects to north metro Atlanta. “At times, it’s easier for a group or investor to get a job done on the northside because their success record is proven time and time again,” Phillips said. “In Newnan, we’re still a little unknown, so there’s just a little apprehension there for some developers.” Phillips said today ’s project managers seem focused on the construction of warehouses on the south side, while corporate offices tend to gravitate towards midtown Atlanta. For the last several years, the city has pushed to actively recruit more corporate offices to Newnan – not necessarily the primary headquarters, but satellite facilities. “We want them to know that Newnan can do it, too – it’s not unique to us,” Phillips said. M ayor K eit h B r a dy cha llenged the city to develop a more up-front “open for business” strategy in an effort for developers to see the opportunities that await in Newnan, not the restrictions. “Everything we’re doing with imagination needs to be in front of your face,” Brady said. “We’re open to all ideas. Not every plan submitted will be in the best interest of the community, but we’re here to talk it through.” Br ady s a id develop -

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PHOTO BY CLAY NEELY

Mayor Keith Brady, Assistant City Manager Hasco Craver and Councilmember Rhodes Shell survey the ongoing Poplar Road construction during the city council’s annual retreat at Piedmont Newnan Hospital.

ing high-end offices in New na n is a ba n k able idea, but developers won’t come until they see the potential. “We’re not looking for the 50,000-employee facility here, but rather the back office component,” he said. “Those folks make a good living, which would support a staff that would be cheaper to provide in a $18 per-square foot leasing environment rather than a $30.” A ssistant City Manager Hasco Craver IV also imparted his insight into what apprehensive inves-

tors might see in Newnan. “Cost, time, permitting, history and a seven-figure impact fee before they even turn dirt,” Craver said. Council member R hodes Shell acknowledged the perception, citing it’s “often hard for a developer to start a project in the city because of the same reasons it’s hard to end a project in the county – fees." A fear of developing on the southside of Atlanta wa s a lso questioned. Other council members questioned the success

of an area like Peachtree City which, despite not having the same geographical advantage of Newnan, continues to grow on its own terms. In his opinion, Craver said Peachtree City has effectively communicated “ who they wa nt to be when they grow up.” “The schools, the amenities – they’ve done a better way of selling it,” he said. “They know what they want in their community and, more importantly, they also know what they don’t want to be. It’s their bubble, and they’ve been

able to communicate that successfully.” Following the discussion, the council raised the possibility of funding a business development director in 2019 to help develop a business recruitment target list and strategy. Mayor Pro-Tem Cynthia Jenkins said the bulk of Newnan’s success has been from its ability to adapt or get out in front of things as they happen. “I believe finding our identity will determine the future of our community,” she said.

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Vision 2018

Sunday, March 25, 2018  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 3D

Educational partnerships strengthen local economy BY REBECCA LEFTWICH becky@newnan.com

Coweta County’s educational partnerships often plant the seeds of innovation that help grow skilled workforces throughout Georgia and beyond, but the demands of local business and industry remains a driving factor in unique opportunities for students. With recruiting for the third class of students in the state’s Coweta-origi n a t e d , G e r m a n- s t yle apprenticeship program well under way, one of the more high-profile “seamless” educational paths – primarily developed and implemented locally – is b e com i n g e st abl ishe d . Meanwhile, the Coweta County School System, West Georgia Technical College and the University of West Georgia continue to join forces to help ensure that not only are students served, but that local workforce needs are met as well. Through the Georgia Consortium for Advanced Technical Training (GA CAT T ) apprenticeship progra m, students ca n enter a career pathway at age 15 that allows them to finish high school while earning college credit, pays them for on-the-job training with area industries, and gives them a chance to earn international industrial mechanic certification. The G erm a n- s t yle apprentic e ship program is part of a network designed to provide students with more a dv a nc e d e duc at ion a l opportunities at younger ages. Advanced Placement (A P) courses and dual enrollment allow some students to complete high school and college academic coursework simul-

taneously. Coweta students can choose to enter certificate, internship or apprenticeship programs as well, providing workpl a c e a c c e s s t o t ho s e who are exploring career options. It’s primarily a product of work done by late b eh av ior a l p sycholo gist Dr. Joe Harless – the visionary behind the creation of the Coweta County School System’s Central Educational Center 18 years ago – to educate students in an environment that simulates the real-life workplace as closely as possible. To create CEC, which became the model for Georgia’s college and career academies, the school system worked with local business and industry leaders to determine workforce needs and to tailor educational opportunities accordingly. “We are fortunate to have a strong and continuously improving school system that prepares students to take on advanced opportunities in larger numbers and at earlier ages,” said Mark Whitlock, CEO of the Central Educational Center. “That is the foundation for a system in Coweta that organizes to ma ximize opportunities for younger students to get ahead earlier and for adults to continue to learn all their lives.” That model has ex tended beyond h ig h school curriculum into a concierge model utilized by West G eorgia Tech and UWG, both of which operate satellite campuses within the Coweta community and work w ith local business and industry to shape coursework

designed to fill workforce needs. “Coweta has no headquartered higher education institution,” Whitlock said. “However, we have what is needed by the community from WGTC and from U WG. Those institutions have been good stewards and, at the same time, have expanded specific programming into Coweta.” I n c r e a s i n g l y, We s t Georgia Tech and UWG are working together to create seamlessness for t e ch n ic a l c ol le ge s t udents who want to conti nue i nto a fou r-ye a r program. CEC and West Georgia Tech have a long h istor y together, w ith WGTC offering classes out of CEC long before its stand-alone Coweta Campus opened in 2013. It fills an urgent workforce need in which many jobs being created require education and skill beyond high school but not necessarily a four-year degree. But many of the jobs being created also require a fou r-ye a r de g r e e or higher in addition to more highly technical skills, which make West Georgia Tech grads valuable recruits for the workforcedriven degree programs offered by the University of West Georgia. In addition to Complete College Georgia – an agreement between the University System of G eorgia and the Te ch n ic a l C ol lege System of Georgia that allows many core credits to transfer between schools in the two systems – UWG and West Georgia Tech have separate articulation agreements which streamline the process of transferring into a bachelor degree program

for students with associate degrees in criminal justice, psychology, general business and nursing. Nu r si n g is the la rgest program at U WG’s Newnan campus. A health and community wellness degree program launched in fall 2017 is the already the second-largest. Both recruit WGTC graduates and are aimed at placing graduates in the health care industry, which has a large presence in Coweta County. “The partnership launched by CEC/WGTC paved the way for a unique and successf ul level of cooperation and partnership among WGTC and UWG – a model for the state,” Whitlock said. “It was a Coweta effort, connected to CEC, that first started the conversation among WGTC and UWG (nursing) programs and helped to bring those programs to Coweta.” Economic growth and e m p l o y m e nt nu m b e r s reflect the intentional educational effort on Coweta County’s part. “All of that educational infrastructure was critical to a calculated effort i n C owe t a t o a t t r a c t higher paying health care and manufacturing jobs,” Whitlock said. Population projections show an influx of millennials and seniors over the next decade, which makes an educational network that prioritizes a healthy economy and tax base a plus. “ I f we w a nt m i l lennials to live/work/play here, we need those higher paying jobs, the education to reach those jobs, and we need that strong wage base to support the welcome increase in the

number of seniors moving to the county,” Whitlock said. “Seniors moving here are likely attracted to a stronger economic base, especially when that

economic base includes growing health care service, and likely see all of that as a long-term ‘good’ option, an incentive for relocation.”

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4D — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Sunday, March 25, 2018

Vision 2018 Coweta working to get ahead of growth

PHOTOS BY SARAH CAMPBELL

Coweta County Administrator Michael Fouts

BY SARAH FAY CAMPBELL sarah@newnan.com

Coweta County is taking two major – yet very different – steps in 2018 that deal with changes and growth in the community. As large subdivisions move farther and farther into the county’s rural areas, residents of those areas have expressed concerns about the loss of the rural setting they know and love. The C owet a C ounty Commissioners have held two public meetings to hear from residents on how they would like to preserve Coweta’s rural character and rural integrity. The second meeting was held this week. County staff will tabulate and summarize the ideas shared by the residents and present them to the commissioners for recommendation on any actions that should be taken, including policy and ordinance changes. Those who weren’t able to attend the meetings can share their thoughts with the commissioners or County Administrator Michael Fouts through email or phone calls at mfouts@coweta.ga.us or 770-254-2601. The other step is the creation of the Recreation

Task Force. The task force has three members from the county, one from the school board, and one each from Newnan, Grantville and Senoia. The group will interview representatives from the various sports leagues that use county facilities, and host public forums to hear from Cowetans about what they like and don’t like about recreation services and what they would like to see in the future. Fouts said he anticipates most changes, if any, will be in the realm of policy. County policy currently prohibits tournaments on county sports fields. County policy prohibits pets at all county parks, and bicycles, skateboards and inline skates are also typically forbidden at county parks. Those policies are examples of things that could be reconsidered, based on what the task force hears from sports leagues and the community. The county’s major recreation projects include the new Leroy Johnson sports complex in Senoia, which is opening for the spring baseball season, and the restoration of the historic Madras School.

New commercial and office development is in the works at the new Poplar Road interchange and Piedmont Newnan Hospital.

The C owet a C ounty Board of Education gave the former school and its property to Coweta in exchange for another tract of land, and the school will become a community center. The original school building and gym will be restored, while later additions will be demolished. Currently, the county is working on site plan design, Fouts said. The Madras project will be funded with the Special Purpose Local Option Sales tax that begins in 2019. Coweta is making some other changes to be better prepared for future growth. Construction is currently underway on a new auto and heavy equipment shop, which will be built on Selt Road. The county is buying a former medical office building on Hospital Road, near the new equipment shop, to be the home of the county’s public works and engineering staff. Some reorganization of the various departments is underway, and development review will be moved from the Transportation and Engineering Department to the Coweta Planning Department. The building department will also be moved into the planning

department. The r e or g a n i z at ion , approved in late February, created a public works division which includes public buildings, the road department and transportation and engineering, and a development services division that includes business license, building inspections, code enforcement, planning, zoning, development review and inspections. Fouts said this is to strategically align responsibilities and departments in order to provide more efficient service. Getting the various development services departments together in one location will take some doing, and Fouts said there will be proposed funding in the 2019 budget for that endeavor. The planning department is on the second floor of the Coweta Administration Building at 22 East Broad St. and business license is down the hall. The building department is on Madison Street. Transportation and Engineering will move from its location in the county building annex on East Washington Street. The annex building isn’t a good candidate for reuse and will likely be

demolished, according to Fouts. In the 2018 budget, the county put in money for 44 new public safety positions – 18 for the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office and 26 for Coweta Fire/Rescue. “That’s probably the largest group of new employees we’ve ever hired,” Fouts said. Additional positions have been needed for a few years, but because of the costs of employee health care and other budget constraints, the county couldn’t afford them, he said. In the future, he’d like to add a few new positions each year, as needed. The county also will be getting two new ambulances, to bring the total to nine, as well as a sixth bus for the Coweta County Transit system. Also, Coweta is partnering with Pathways Community Service Board and the Coweta Hospital Authority on the construction of a new mental health crisis stabilization unit for adults and children. The new facility will be built on Hospital Road next to the Coweta County Health Department and will replace existing Pathways crisis units in LaGrange and Greenville. It will

also include the Pathways 24-hour walk-in assessment unit, which is currently at the Pathways Clinic at 59 Hospital Road. One facet of Coweta County’s government that impacts everyone who lives or visits the county is roads. The biggest current project is the construction of a new Interstate 85 interchange at Poplar Road. The interchange is expected to be open to traffic by the end of 2018. The vast majority of the money raised by the 2019 SPLOST will go to road projects, but those are primarily road maintenance and resurfacing projects, focused on keeping existing roads in good shape. Residential growth in the county has picked up significantly in the past few years and shows no signs of slowing down. Fouts said it’s key to get in front of that growth. “Probably the biggest takeaway … right now is we’re still reactive with a lot of the road projects, and we need to move the needle to be proactive,” he said. “Obviously if we develop an area and five, 10 years later try to come back and create road projects, it’s difficult.”

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Sunday, March 25, 2018  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 5D

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— Newnan Police Chief D.L. “Buster” Meadows

those without a voice.

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In 2017...

We were awarded DealerRater’s 2017 State Dealer of the Year award for Nissan, based on customer reviews and overall performance.

Nissan has presented to us the Award of Excellence trophy every year since we opened in 2014. We proudly supported local charities and schools in the community in 2017, with special attention to the Newnan-Coweta Humane Society and their compassion for all 4-legged friends. We became the #1 Star Wars Rogue store in the entire United States!

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We became the largest Nissan Titan store in Georgia! WELCOME TO TITAN TERRITORY!

In 2018...

We look forward to yet another year of growth. Growth in community investment and growth in sales/service. We attract customers from every market in Georgia and many cross state lines to purchase from Nissan of Newnan. We understand that these visitors bring revenue into the community by visiting our many local restaurants, hotels, and shops. We will continue to offer our fresh approach each and every day to insure the continued growth of Nissan of Newnan as well as our retail neighbors. At the end of the day, we all grow together!

783 Bullsboro Drive • Newnan, GA 30265 • www.nissanofnewnan.com


6D — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Sunday, March 25, 2018

Vision 2018

Senoia’s vision for the future

PHOTOS BY SARAH CAMPBELL

A courtyard leads the way from Main Street to the newly-construced buildings on Barnes Street in downtown Senoia. Luxury loft apartments overlook the courtyard.

BY SARAH FAY CAMPBELL six years.

“For that six-year period, we will satisfy the parking need for downtown Senoia – I promise you that,” Fisher said recently from his office at Senoia City Hall. The city is already looking at downtown properties, and hopes to add 250-300 spaces in various lots around downtown. “We’ve got a whole year to locate what we want to acquire,” Fisher said. “We have approached some people already to see if they are interested.” The new buildings completed last year on Barnes and Main Street extended the footprint of downtown Senoia, and a few more new buildings are coming soon. The city and the owner of property at 90 Main St. have entered into an agreement for a property swap. The small concrete building at the corner of Main and Johnson will be torn down, and new buildings will be constructed at the corner and in the lot next to city hall that currently serves as city hall parking. A new parking lot will be built behind the new buildings to replace the parking lost to construction. With the approval of higher density for the Keg Creek Landing subdivision on Seavy Street, the city will be getting 28 acres on Hwy. 85 to use for the new sewer plant. Currently, the city uses a land application system, where treated wastewater is sprayed onto the ground. The spray fields are near the police station on Howard Road, and as people who have visited the area for court, meetings or police business can attest, there is a detectable odor. The new sewage plant will

sarah@newnan.com

With over 600 new homes newly approved, and other subdivisions in the midst of construction, Senoia is seeing steady residential growth. To handle the new residents, the city is working toward a new sewage plant and, after that, dredging the city’s reservoir to increase drinking water capacity. Downtown Senoia continues to be a big tourist draw for fans of “The Walking Dead,” but filming may slowly be drawing to a close. The city’s agreement with Stalwart Films for the closures associated with the “Alexandria” site expires at the end of 2019. The Gin Property, a residential development in downtown, has been a “closed set” for the walled city of Alexandria since 2014. Though the show might leave, AMC will always be in town – the network that produces many of its own shows including “The Walking Dead,” purchased the former Riverwood Studios, just outside Senoia, last summer. With or without active filming, downtown Senoia is a vibrant place that draws tourists and visitors from miles around, and on weekends when the weather is nice, things are packed – including parking lots. More downtown parking is sorely needed and that’s something new Mayor Jeff Fisher is taking very seriously. “We’re going after parking,” he said. The city set aside money in the 2019 Special Purpose L ocal Option Sales Tax for new parking. Money will start rolling in next year, and the 1 percent sales tax runs for

discharge treated wastewater into Keg Creek. Right now, the city’s sewer capacity is 500,000 gallons per day. The new plant will be built to treat 1 million gallons per day, and to be expandable to 2 million gallons daily (MGD). “Right now we’re going through and getting the final permits and things that will allow us to begin construction,” Fisher said. Before the city can get too serious, the land sale has to go through. Keg Creek Landing is proposed for 356 lots. After 222 are permitted, the developers will improve the intersection of Seavy Street and Hwy. 85. One of the city’s cart paths will run through the development. The path will go from Ivy Ridge to Seavy Street. Many of the city’s cart paths run close to roadways, but the newest path will have a long run through a wooded area, Fischer said. Just down Hwy. 85 heading toward Haralson will be another new development, on 167 acres that the city recently annexed. Variously known as “the Tinsley property” and “East Village,” the development will have 260 homes. The Fieldstone development on Hwy. 16 on the western side of the city will have approximately 250 homes, and development is continuing on Heritage Pointe, the city’s largest development. When complete, it will have around 600 homes. The city currently has enough sewer capacity to serve all of the homes under development, but just barely. However, those projects won’t be built out for 10-12 years, and the new sewer plant should be up and run-

ning in 2020, Fischer said. And that’s a conservative estimate. The city will pay off all of its debt from the original sewer project this May, he said. While sewer is top priority, the city also wants to expand its water capacity. Hutchinson Lake needs to be dredged, and that will raise the amount of water that can be drawn from it from approximately 450,000 MGD to 650,000 MGD. Stormwater is also an issue. The city has grown enough to come under more stringent stormwater rules, and a plan was designed a few years ago to pipe all of the stormwater from downtown to one of the smaller ponds at Marimac Lakes. However, engineers have run into some underground rock formations, making gravity flow difficult. So the city may have to re-evaluate the project. It’s hoped that 2018 will be the year that work finally begins on the long-awaited intersection improvement project at Pylant Street and Ga. Hwy. 16. Plans, and some funding, for the project have been in place for several years. There were some holdups, including the need for more environmental studies, Fisher said. Just a few weeks ago, City Manager Harold Simmons “sent off the paperwork to get that project moving,” Fisher said. Unfortunately, with the most recent set of plans and the increase in construction costs since the project was initially approved, there is at a budget deficit of $600,000. “We’ve asked the federal government to absorb that, because it’s all right-of-way enhancements,” Fischer said. It's more money than the city can absorb. The new Leroy Johnson

A courtyard leads the way from Main Street to the newlyconstruced buildings on Barnes Street in downtown Senoia. Luxury loft apartments overlook the courtyard.

Park is now opened, with Little League play starting March 24. The multiphase sports complex has been in the works for several years, and is a joint project between the city and Coweta County. “This was a great representation of the partnership between us and the county,” Fischer said. The two entities haven’t always gotten along well. Fischer said he feels like construction of the new library was the start of a good working relationship between Senoia in the county. “Over the last seven years, we’ve really closed the gap on being able to work together,” he said. The old ball fields off Howard Road will eventu-

ally become light industrial property – a ready-made expansion of the city’s industrial area. The old sewer spray fields will eventually become industrial property, too. Also in the area of recreation, the city has plans for another phase of improvements at the Seavy Street Park. Phase II will include more playground equipment, some basketball goals – and a splash pad. Surveys over the years have shown “the public wants that more than anything else,” Fischer said of a splash pad. There are also talks of building a veterans memorial at Pylant Street as part of the intersection project.

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Vision 2018

Sunday, March 25, 2018 | The Newnan Times-Herald — 7D

UWG Newnan to get new degree programs, new space

PHOTO BY REBECCA LEFTWICH

University of West Georgia President Kyle Marrero, left, and Dr. David Jenks, associate vice president of academic affairs for UWG, look over one of the areas that will soon be under construction to create more space for Newnan campus degree programs.

BY REBECCA LEFTWICH becky@newnan.com

New degree programs and ongoing work on a plan to build out 24,000 feet of unused space mean the University of West Georgia’s Newnan campus will have plenty of room – both academically and physically – going forward. Following the growing trend of tailoring higher education to meet local workforce needs, UWG will offer new bachelor’s degree programs in social and behavioral health, interdisciplinary studies, and organizational leadership beginning this fall. Community input has

help e d sh ap e the new coursework, according to UWG President Kyle Marrero. “The entire Coweta community has been excellent in providing feedback,” he said. Interdisciplinary studies in particular is designed to serve as a sort of concierge service for employers. A student in interdisciplinary studies would take the core curriculum required of all students and some other basic courses, then enroll in a mixture of existing courses designed to develop the skills local employers need. A s employer s’ needs

change, the mix for future students could easily change, too, offering greater adaptability than the establishment of traditional degree majors. Interdisciplinary studies is a new degree – separate from those established as arts or sciences degrees – that allows students with a wide range of interests to essentially design their own programs. “Let’s say a student is really passionate computer science, but also has an interest in accounting and criminology,” said Dr. David Jenks, associate vice president of academic affairs. “They want

to use all their skills to detect fraud. An interdisciplinary studies degree will allow them to create a program that’s tailored to those interests and can be specialized to a specific workforce.” Organizational leadership primarily is aimed at non-traditional students, and UWG Newnan will offer two classes to allow those students to “test the waters,” Jenks said. “ S ome student s may decide finishing the prog r a m w ill requ ire too much time and effort,” he said. “Others will be able to launch directly into the e-major and can take their

online classes anywhere they’d like. The object is to get them in the door.” Social and behavioral health is being launched university-wide this fall, offering students a chance to prepare themselves for employ ment i n ho spitals, court systems, public health agencies, human services, in-patient behavioral health facilities, case management, assisted living facilities and nonprofit organizations. With a heav y inf lux of seniors and millennials predicted to flock to Coweta County over the next decade, Marrero said UWG’s new programming

is a natural fit. “ The or g a n i z at ion a l leadership program will be focused on returning adults who wish to have a face-toface introduction to flexible and convenient online programming,” he said, adding that the university is developing a plan to remove many of the barriers adults face when returning to school. “The interdisciplinary studies program will serve both adults and seniors, largely due to its f lexibility,” Marrero added. “Adults will have an easier time using prior learning and courses from multiple colleges in a single degree, and we anticipate millennials will be attracted by the concentrations built into the degree with a clear path to jobs.” The university expanded its offerings last fall as well, adding a bachelor’s degree in health and community wellness. Apart from nursing, that program already is the largest at the Newnan campus. Jenks said community suppor t ma kes Newnan an ideal place to launch new programs. “We have a fantastic partnership in Newnan with the city and community,” he said. A physical expansion to house the new programs is in the works as well, with the university planning on moving ahead this summer with a buildout project that will turn 24,000 square feet of shelled-out space in the former Newnan Hospital location into classrooms, offices, training labs, study nooks, meeting rooms and multi-functional areas. “We’re excited about what’s happening at UWG Newnan and look forward to watching it grow both in size and in number of opportunities for our students,” Jenks said.

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8D — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Sunday, March 25, 2018

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20180325 vision