Brenau University to offer classes at new Fairburn campus

Tue, 05/26/2009 - 4:27pm
By: Ben Nelms

There will soon another option for college students living in Fayette County. Brenau University announced last week that it will open its Fairburn campus this summer. To be called South Atlanta/Fairburn, the new Brenau campus will open in the 2009-10 academic year on Aug. 28. Brenau will join Georgia Military College (GMC) at the Fairburn campus. GMC opened the new site in 2008, and approximately 25 percent of GMC’s students live in Fayette County.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Brenau to spread its high-quality programs into an area of our state that is under-served by higher education institutions,” said Brenau University President Ed Schrader. “From our perspective, this new Atlanta South/Fairburn campus has enormous growth potential both for traditional-age students and for older students and people who may want to change careers or improve job skills to enhance their personal competitiveness. We applaud the city of Fairburn for having the vision to create a wonderful environment for nurturing the growth of higher education.”

Brenau will occupy a two-story, 18,400-square-foot brick academic building in the new $10 million, four-acre education complex constructed by the Fairburn city government last year. GMC occupies a companion building. The campus on U.S. Highway 29 just east of downtown also includes a three-story, 11,400-square-foot administration building and two 2,000 square-foot retail buildings.

The first course of study that Brenau will be offering as it builds both undergraduate and graduate programs will be in business administration with education and health care programs following as soon as possible, Schrader said. The university is also exploring adding additional undergraduate and graduate degree tracks in occupational therapy, interior design, project management and other disciplines.

“Students from the communities across Atlanta have demonstrated an interest in the kinds of programs Brenau offers on its non-residential campuses,” said Brenau Associate Vice President David Barnett. “This additional location provides a convenient point of delivery for students west and south of Atlanta. It also gives GMC students a very good option for continuing to a four-year degree and on to graduate programs at the same location where they are completing their first two years of college.”

Accommodating those students will probably lead to more flexibility in Brenau’s non-residential programs, Barnett said, adding his expectation that Brenau will attract enough students to quickly fill the 18,400-square-foot classroom building.

“GMC students on the Fairburn campus are already accustomed to attending classes during normal Monday-through-Friday business hours,” said Barnett. “As a result, we will be looking at running a class schedule during those times as well as evenings and weekends.”

The decision by the Fairburn mayor and City Council to initiate the $10 million project came in September 2007 with the idea of bringing GMC and other colleges and universities into the city. GMC subsequently signed a 10-year lease. Brenau has signed a 7-year lease.

“The greatest determinant in bringing jobs, business and industry to a community is the availability of an educated workforce,” said Fairburn Mayor Betty Hannah. “We are very pleased to have Brenau with us here in Fairburn. Its presence will allow area residents access to additional accredited degree programs enabling them to advance their careers or attain skills to begin a new career.”

In addition to its main campus in Gainesville, Brenau also operates campuses in Augusta, Norcross and Kings Bay. Brenau in 2009 was ranked as one of the top 10-best higher education values in the Southeast by U.S. News & World Report. It marked the university’s third consecutive year in that position for the magazine’s “America’s Best Colleges” guidebook.

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