Crews from Carroll Daniel Construction take down part of the mezzanine at the Brenau Downtown Center, formerly Georgia Mountains Center on Monday, April 1, 2013. The former arena will be converted into a two level space that will houseBrenau University's expanded graduate degree programs in physical therapy and other health sciences.

Construction Begins at Downtown Center

Demolition is nearing an end and construction is underway on the new home of Brenau University’s expanded graduate degree programs in physical therapy and other health sciences, the Brenau Downtown Center. The project is estimated to wrap up around six months from now.

Crews from Carroll Daniel Construction and local sub-contractors started demo work on the arena of the former Georgia Mountains Center in late March and have been steadily chipping away at the demo work, removing the bleachers, stage and dismantling most of the mezzanines.

The construction phase began in early April when holes were cut in the concrete floor for the footings of the columns that will hold the new level that divides the area. The first floor of the newly designed space will be dedicated to health science class work right out of the gate, with the second floor to be determined.

John Haynes, project manager at Carroll Daniel construction, said roughly 800 yards of concrete, 100 tons of structural steel, 220 squares of metal deck and 200 tons of cooling capacity will go into the new structure inside the Downtown Center. The overall square footage of the lower level will be around 20,000 square feet with half of that dedicated to classroom space and the other half to corridors, storage and future expansion. The upper level will be close to 15,000 square feet

“This is like a remodel with major structural elements,” Russ Hartness of Carroll Daniel Construction said. “The building is in great shape so it makes sense to utilize as much of it as possible.”

With a price tag of $6.5 million in construction, renovation, equipment and initial staffing for a physical therapy doctoral degree program, the Downtown Center is one of the largest and most expensive construction jobs Gainesville has seen in a while. The end result, an expansion in Brenau’s graduate degree programs in physical therapy and other health sciences, is estimated to bring in 500-700 graduate and undergraduate students to the Gainesville area over the next 10-12 years with an economic impact of more than $45 million.

 

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