I’m excited to report work has begun on the Greenway, Georgia State’s signature greenspace that will thread through the core of our Atlanta Campus to recreate Library Plaza and connect Woodruff Park to the Parker H. Petit Science Center.
The Greenway will comprise a necklace of landscaped quadrangles and courtyards that link to surrounding streets and public spaces. Replacing long stretches of concrete with beautiful outdoor study and social spaces, we will dramatically improve the student experience while contributing to the revitalization of downtown Atlanta.
I originally announced this plan to make our campus a far more inviting, attractive, safe and livable space in fall 2013. The project has been welcomed enthusiastically, and we’ve spent several years working out the details. Thanks to the hard work of our Government Affairs office, we secured $5 million from the State of Georgia last year and can now begin work on the multimillion dollar, multiphase project that first calls for the demolition of Kell Hall.
Constructed as a parking garage in 1920, acquired by Georgia State in 1945 and transformed into a classroom building using war surplus materials by 1946, Kell Hall was the university’s first permanent building and has endured as a longtime icon of the university’s enterprising spirit. Nearly a century after its construction, the building will make way for the next step of our university’s remarkable ascent.
Students will climb its ramps for the last time this spring, and we hope to begin demolition in December. We are already relocating offices, including the university Post Office, which has moved to a storefront on the first floor of T Deck at Edgewood and Peachtree Center avenues.
Once Kell Hall has been removed, future phases will call for extensive modifications to Library Plaza as well as Arts & Humanities, Langdale Hall, Library North and Sparks Hall. Construction timelines may depend on another significant campus improvement, the redesign and replacement of the Courtland Street bridge between Gilmer Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Work is already underway, and the new bridge, which will feature aesthetic and safety improvements, should open by November.
With 17 buildings added to our downtown campus since 2010, Georgia State’s expansion and growth have been breathing new life into the city’s core for years now. However, this latest project — the cornerstone of our campus master plan — takes our commitment to the city of Atlanta even further. It transforms entire blocks of major downtown streets to provide a vibrant gathering place and pedestrian thoroughfare for residents, workers and visitors as well as our students, faculty and staff.
We call Georgia State a university without boundaries partly because it blends so seamlessly into the city surrounding it. When we create a more welcoming and productive environment for our students, faculty and staff, we are contributing once again to the revitalization of downtown Atlanta. It is part of the vision and mission of a leading modern urban research university.
Mark P. Becker