It's not an official opening. But a "sneak peek" into Statesboro's Innovation Incubator complex, including facilities of Georgia Southern University's Business Innovation Group and the Averitt Center for the Arts, will be offered from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Thursday.
The expansion of the GSU City Campus to fill the building at 62 E. Main St. includes the Innovation Incubator for business, and a preview setup, not yet fully functional, of the Fabrication Laboratory equipment for creating prototypes. Meanwhile, the Averitt Center will open the doors of its two-story Roxie Remley Center for Fine Arts, in back of the existing City Campus at 58 E. Main St.
The newly landscaped alley between the buildings, which will available by reservation for events such as concerts and weddings, also will be part of the tours. Meanwhile, a display of concepts for Blue Mile redevelopment of South Main Street has been set up nearby at the Joe R. Brannen Hall. The Blue Mile plan is Statesboro's entry as a national finalist in the America's Best Communities competition.
The reception and tours are part of the Business After Hours series sponsored by the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce. But the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority is hosting this one in partnership with the Business Innovation Group and the Averitt Center, and the public is welcome to attend, said DSDA office manager Elena McLendon.
"We're all trying to spur economic development in our district, so it's a great opportunity for businesses to see what the Chamber's all about and see what downtown Statesboro is doing to develop this area," she said.
Food, beverages and door prizes will be offered.
The Innovation Incubator and the Fab Lab are not the same thing, but two distinct spaces inside the same building. The Innovation Incubator includes 20 office areas of various sizes, most of which have already been awarded to entrepreneurs for lease, said Dr. Dominique Halaby, director of the Business Innovation Group.
The incubator also has a "think space" for collaborative work with a view into the Fab Lab, where "hackers, tinkerers and innovators" will create potential products, Halaby said. The Fab Lab, which will have equipment such as a 3D printer, had not been set up as of last week.
"We're officially taking the keys and opening that facility (this) week and transitioning some entrepreneurs into the space, but the Fab Lab itself won't be open for a while. ...," Halaby said. "So the official grand opening won't be until September. This is really a sneak peek."
Fine Arts Center
The Roxie Remley Center for Fine Arts features, on the first floor, a 3D art studio, equipped with pottery wheels, glazing areas and other workspaces for ceramics, and a separate 2D studio for painting and drawing.
"We're going to stage it just so that the public has some idea of the functionality of the space, but we haven't moved in yet, really," said Tim Chapman, the Averitt Center's executive director.
The second floor houses eight smaller studios for rental by artists. All have been rented, but none of the artists have moved in yet, Chapman said. An official grand opening of the arts center also is planned for Sept. 9-10.
The buildings belong to the city of Statesboro. The city and Georgia Southern University, together, received a $1.1 million U.S. Economic Development Administration grant for the overall project, to which they and the Averitt Center have applied some additional funding.