McDonough- Mercer University opened the doors to its newest regional academic center Aug. 13, providing opportunities for adult learners in Henry County and surrounding areas to advance their education close to home.
Following a ribbon cutting, the public was invited to tour the new facility at 160 Henry Parkway, adjacent to the Henry County Administration Building.
Conveniently located off exit 218 on I-75, the 30,000-square-foot facility is the result of a public/private partnership of the Henry County Development Authority, Henry County Board of Commissioners and Mercer University.
"This facility represents a unique partnership between Mercer University and Henry County," said Mercer President R. Kirby Godsey. "We are looking forward to providing men and women throughout this area with an educational program of quality and breadth that competently prepares them both personally and professionally."
The new regional academic center is designed specifically for adult learners. The one-story building borders the Cotton Fields Golf Course and has numerous windows to bring the wooded outdoors into the classrooms. The building's entrance opens into a spacious lounge adjacent to offices of full-time faculty members and student support professionals.
"Our students are valued members of Mercer's learning community and the building's open design is intended to encourage them to see education as their gateway to limitless possibilities," said Dr. Thomas Kail, associate provost and dean of the College of Continuing and Professional Studies.
Other features of the Center include a computer lab, a learning lab for tutorial assistance and a digital and traditional library. One of the highlights of the facility is a model teacher education classroom, which is set up like that of an elementary school for use by teacher education students.
Designed to serve an enrollment of 1,000 students, the new state-of-the-art academic center in Henry County will consolidate the students from the University's two smaller centers located in Griffin and Covington, which will close after their summer sessions.The Center is expected to draw adult learners from Henry, Newton, Spalding, Rockdale, Clayton, Fayette, Lamar and Butts counties.
Two of the University's 10 schools and colleges will offer evening and weekend programs at the Center: the College of Continuing and Professional Studies and Tift College of Education. Undergraduate degree programs include human services, criminal justice, information systems and early childhood and middle grades education as well as the organization leadership degree-completion program. The University plans to later offer graduate programs in education and community counseling.
In addition to degree programs, the Center will offer certificate and continuing education programs, including the College of Continuing and Professional Studies' Public Safety Leadership Institute. During the summer, the Center will offer its College for Kids, with popular programs such as Budding Authors and Math Wizards.
Classes begin the week of Aug. 18. Mercer University also has Regional Academic Centers in Douglas County and Eastman.