(McDonough) – Wet weather and muddy ground didn't dampen the spirits of officials from Mercer University and Henry County Feb. 28 as they marked the completion of the steel work on the Regional Center that Mercer is building on Henry Parkway.
Henry County Development Authority Director Bob White said the "topping off" of the steel work is traditionally a "significant milestone" in the completion of a construction project.
White said while the symbolic groundbreaking at the site was held last June, actually work did not begin until Jan. 3 of this year, and the steel work started in mid-February. Choate Construction, which has already completed other buildings for both Henry County and Mercer, is the chief contractor on the facility.
Speaking on behalf of Mercer, Dr. Horace Fleming, Executive Vice President, noted that Mercer has two goals for the new facility – to educate students and to help improve the quality of life in the Henry County area.
Other officials speaking at the ceremony, which took place under the roof of the facility, included Henry County Commission Chairman Leland Maddox; Development Authority Chairman Jim White; McDonough Mayor Richard Craig; Dr. Tom Kail, Dean of Mercer's College of Continuing and Professional Studies; Michael Patrick, Chief Architect for Leo Daly Architects; and Millard Choate and Ron Holstein of Choate Construction.
Following the ceremony, the Development Authority hosted a barbecue luncheon at the county administration building.
Mercer's 30,000 square-foot Regional Center is scheduled to open in time for fall 2003. Courses to be offered will include evening undergraduate degree programs in education, human services, criminal justice, technology and communications, and an undergraduate degree-completion program in organization leadership, as well as continuing education and professional development training. It is expected that the Center will also offer Mercer's Public Safety Leadership Institute's executive leadership development program.