By Chelsea Collins
AMERICUS — Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) is set to open its newly renovated, $3.4 million Student Services Building later this month. Hurricane students will now be able to access essential student registration services under one roof at the one-stop-shop, with the new official name of Canes Central.
Conveniently located in the eye of campus, Canes Central will house the offices of Recruitment and Admissions, Student Financial Aid, Student Accounts, and Freshman Experience. Students can receive application and enrollment assistance, seek face-to-face academic and college coaching, career advice, access financial aid information, bursar account advice, and receive tutoring services, among many other services.
“We wanted this building to be a place where students can connect with each other and where GSW staff members focus on the support services needed to help navigate the university,” said Laura Boren, Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Student Engagement and Success. “Canes Central is where students can manage basic registration operations, and will also serve as a gathering space with comfort, convenience and functionality. Each of us at GSW is there for 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 built in 1962 and has had many names and uses over the years. Initially serving as the campus library and classroom, it later moved to the nursing department and media center, then focused on academic support with tutoring, counseling, 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 focused on student achievement and learning, which will continue through Canes Central.
The recent renovation modernized the building while keeping in mind the original mid-century modern architecture. Unique features such as the geometric block wall on the exterior and the floating staircase in the lobby – popular trends in the 1960s – remain intact. Inside, the contemporary design is complemented by natural light, open-concept floor plans, adjustable desks, and new seating options, while preserving the clean lines and classic forms of the building’s past.
“Georgia Southwestern is booming,” said 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 and quality services more effectively and efficiently to students – all now in one centralized location. This will undoubtedly simplify processes and transform the student experience.
The building is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including a virtual queuing system where students can virtually enter service lines via their mobile devices. Conference rooms and meeting rooms will be equipped with wall-mounted flat screens, computers and wireless connectivity. State-of-the-art Wi-Fi will also be available throughout the building.
Boren shares his 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 studying on their own in a private space, collaborating with a student organization in a conference room, or obtaining essential student services in time. Student-centred care is at the heart of our approach, and we believe this will contribute to the success of each of our students.
The University System of Georgia Board of Trustees allocated funding for the project of $3.4 million in 2018 as part of 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 inauguration and inauguration event will take place on Friday, February 19 at 1 p.m. in the central courtyard of Canes. The public is invited to attend. After the ceremony, those in attendance will have the opportunity to walk around the newly renovated facilities.