20 March, 2017
The Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees formally authorized the issuance of $25 million in limited obligation revenue bonds (Series 2017) to Gadsden State Community College. ACCS Chancellor Jimmy Baker confirmed the March 15 approval in a letter to Dr. Martha Lavender, president of Gadsden State.
Lavender said the bonds will be used to construct a new science building on the college’s East Broad Campus, an addition to the Cheaha Career Center on the Ayers Campus and renovations to Allen Hall on the Wallace Drive Campus.
“The new construction and renovations are consistent with Gadsden State’s strategic plan, which we define as the 3I’s – instruction, infrastructure and institution,” she said. “Our plan focuses on not only quality educational programming and continuous improvement but also on addressing the infrastructure needs of aging facilities. Students learn best in an environment that is stimulating, conducive to learning and student-friendly.”
The new science building will be constructed on the corner of Wallace Drive and East Cardinal Drive next to Gadsden State’s One Stop Center. It will replace 50-year-old Browder Hall, which is located on the Wallace Drive Campus. Browder Hall has space and technology limitations as well as other issues associated with the age of the building.
“The new building will have over 57,000-square-feet of classrooms, laboratories, offices, an auditorium and a tornado shelter,” Lavender said. “The science building brings a significant program to the East Broad Campus and essentially unifies the Wallace Drive and East Broad campuses.”
The addition to the Cheaha Career Center addresses the need for additional general education classes at the Ayers Campus in Anniston, which support Gadsden State’s career technical and transfer programs.
“We are adding eight classrooms, six offices and a 140-seat lecture hall that will double as a tornado shelter to the Cheaha Center,” she said.
Renovations to Allen Hall, the oldest building on the Wallace Drive campus, include upgrading bathrooms, electrical, plumbing and heating/cooling systems.
“Allen Hall will adequately and comfortably serve students in 22 classrooms and labs and two student gathering areas,” she said. “In addition to improving instructional space, the renovation enhances energy efficiencies of the building.”
Planning must be completed and the construction contracts must be executed by March 31, 2018. The estimated timeline for completion of the projects is January 2019 for the Cheaha Center addition; April 2019 for the Allen Hall renovation; and August 2019 for the construction of the new science building.
Also at the March 15 meeting, the ACCS Board of Trustees recommended a special building fee of $12 per credit hour effective fall semester.
“We are one of a few community colleges in the state that has not utilized a special building fee to improve the infrastructure of our campuses,” Lavender said. “The bond debt service will be paid with the new building fee along with tuition, auxiliary funds and other revenues if needed.”