Georgia College Responsibly Redesigns Welcome Center

By SCN Staff

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga.—Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) has officially debuted its newly redesigned welcome center, courtesy of its collaboration with CROFT & Associates.

CROFT and its team of architects and engineers began work on the project in 2018 and shepherded it through construction and completion. Materials used in the redesign were responsibly sourced. Low-e glass used will reduce energy costs while enhancing the natural light of the center. Refurbished wood from GGC’s basketball court accents the reception area, along with salvaged glass from the original entrance that now bears their etched logo. Even the entrance and exit doors have been repurposed from other campus buildings.

The 9,100-square-foot space will now serve as the first point of contact for prospective students, parents and visitors, hosting activities including student orientation, campus tours and college information sessions.

“The center is important for our current and prospective students because it’s a window to the college in terms of technology and personal attention. That’s what we provide at GGC,” said Michael Poll, GGC’s enrollment management vice president.

CROFT worked directly with school administrators to revitalize the space and designed specifically according to their pain points and challenges.

For example, new technology was implemented into the center that included a large video wall where student visitors are recognized by name and high school. While waiting to tour the campus, students are invited to interact with state-of-the art touchscreen monitors, where they can watch videos, explore majors and learn about campus happenings.

“We put a lot of energy into providing potential students a space where they can be proud of this college before they even enroll,” Poll explained.

The center also offers resources for current GGC students. Touted as a “one-stop shop,” the redesigned space provides private consultation areas for students seeking help with their accounts, financial aid, registrar or other campus services.

While COVID didn’t delay the project’s timeline, it did require a reassessment of the space to ensure its layout and design could accommodate a post-pandemic world.  Several modifications were implemented, including additional glass panel separators at the customer service positions. In addition, automatic sliding doors were incorporated at the main entry to promote ‘hands-free’ access, and more hand sanitization stations were provided.

“GGC gave us the trust and the freedom to explore a solution for their needs that is very exciting and stimulating for the current and future students,” said Michael Gunn, CROFT architect and project manager for the GGC redesign. “They were very open to letting us create fresh, open spaces with fun pops of color and texture throughout.”

“We are really proud of what we were able to accomplish in partnership with GGC,” said Kip Stokes, CROFT senior vice president and business unit director for its higher education market sector. “We understood the significance of the project and wanted to ensure we were able to deliver on time and within budget while also meeting all their needs. With the limitations of their previous center in mind, we were able to collaborate with GGC in envisioning a new welcome center that would help them better serve their students’ needs. Through our design, we were able to capture their vision and create a more open, inspiring and efficient student services center that better represents GGC’s commitment to student success.”

CROFT, founded in 2004, is a full-service architecture and engineering firm headquartered in Kennesaw, Ga., with a second office location in Lawrenceville, Ga.