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Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - Merchants, restaurants rejoice as GSU returns
Grice-H-DeWayne Web

Statesboro welcomed nearly 21,000 students Monday back to classes at Georgia Southern University.

This past weekend, we all noticed heavier traffic, packed restaurants and grocery stores looking like we are under a hurricane watch. No one who actually lives in Statesboro year round braved Wal-Mart Saturday or Sunday. And along with students comes welcome economic relief to many of our businesses after a long "dry" summer.

As we welcome students back, here's an overview of the changes and additions on and around campus over the summer. One of the biggest changes is the introduction of Dr. Jean Bartels as the university's first woman president. The former provost was named interim president while a search for a permanent replacement for Dr. Brooks Keel gets underway. Dr. Keel accepted the presidency of Georgia Regents University in Augusta in July.

Paulson Stadium has undergone some routine maintenance primarily involving roof repairs, HVAC upgrades and repairs and maintenance to the suites.

The two most notable changes are the addition of a temporary kitchen on the home side which will help increase capacity of food services at the GSU games and a parking area has been constructed that will park 50 bicycles.

This will allow student commuters to park their bikes at the stadium and use the campus bus system. A bicycle repair station was installed and also at the union bus stop. The repair station provides standard bicycle repair tools and an air pump for on the spot repairs. This was funded by a sustainability grant.

The Tech Corner across from the GSU Bookstore has added a second Apple certified technician. As Statesboro's only certified Apple store, they can work on any Apple and Mac products, except cell phones. They have partnered with iCracked, which has a location inside the tech store. They offer replacement of broken screens for most models of cell phones.

Starbucks in the Union will undergo a complete renovation in December.

The most photographed spot in Statesboro is the GSU hedges in front of Sweetheart Circle. To make the popular photo spot safer, a protected pedestrian crosswalk was constructed at the intersection of Southern Drive and Sweetheart Circle. A raised island and campus cobblestone pavers now define and protect pedestrians along with speed bumps.

The city, state and GSU have partnered together to install a HAWK system cross walk later this year, which will include signal lights on South Main and Parrish Street. The push button cross walk will allow safer access to campus across the five lane Highway 301 for the hundreds of students who live in student housing across 301 from campus.

Fair Road was repaved and now includes a bike lane from the hospital area to the Fair grounds. ADA accessible curb cuts all around campus and throughout the city help connect bike traffic to downtown and to the two bike and walking trails.

The RAC has been renamed after a $1 million gift by former GSU President Bruce Grube and First Lady Katheryn Grube. It will now be known as the Bruce and Kathryn Grube Recreation Activity Center.

A 31,650-square-foot Shooting Sports Education Center that will include a 16-lane firing range and an indoor archery range located at the intersection of Old Register Road and the Bypass is near completion and will open soon.

The two story, 39,000-square-foot Health Services Center that will house 48 exam rooms, a women's health center, lab, X-ray, pharmacy, immunization, physical therapy, health education and Eagle Eye Care is scheduled to open in December. It is located at the corner of Plant Drive and Chandler Road near the PAC.

Construction of a 58,000-square-foot pre-engineered metal building that will serve as a central warehouse begins this week. It will be the first building on the 208 acres of land purchased by the university across the bypass from Paulson Stadium. It is known as South Campus and, according to the master plan, would provide space for a massive expansion of the campus in the years to come.

Construction will begin in January 2016 on a 32,000-square-foot Military Science Building on the west side of campus on South Main. An interdisciplinary Academic Building is in the design stage and construction is planned to begin late next year. This building will replace some of the portable classrooms remaining on campus.

With nearly $100 million of construction in process or in planning stages on the GSU campus we can anticipate incredible growth to continue throughout our community. Make sure and welcome a student to town when you are out and about. Thank them for choosing Statesboro. Because of them, we have the incredible variety of restaurants and retail shops that we all enjoy every day.

 

Please email DeWayne at dgrice@statesboroherald.com or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.

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