Local leaders got a glimpse of the future last week during a Hinesville Rotary Club meeting when Armstrong Atlantic State University President Dr. Linda Bleicken and Liberty Center Director retired Col. Peter Hoffman unveiled a rendering of the new Liberty campus.
The unveiling was held Feb. 18 during a Rotary luncheon at the La Quinta Inn on Highway 84 in Flemington.
“Thanks to strong partnerships with the city of Hinesville, Fort Stewart and our legislators, our dream for a new facility in Liberty County is now becoming a reality,” Bleicken said. “The Armstrong Liberty Center creates opportunities for students working to build a brighter future.
“It’s a place where increasing numbers of students of all ages — including military students, veterans and their families — can pursue educational opportunities in liberal arts, science, education and health professions.”
When complete, the new 21,000-square-foot Armstrong Liberty Center will be on Memorial Drive, one block from downtown Hinesville and across from the new Hinesville library.
Hoffman said the center will have eight classrooms, two science labs, a student common area, study areas and faculty and staff offices.
The Memorial Drive campus also will have the capability to expand in years to come, he said.
The new building should break ground this spring and is scheduled to open the summer of 2015, before fall classes begin, Bleicken said.
The city of Hinesville contributed $3 million in land and infrastructure to the project, and the state funded $4.7 million toward the new campus construction, Hoffman said. Hussey, Gay, Bell and DeYoung serves as the architectural firm for the construction project.
Bleicken thanked community leaders for supporting the project, singling out Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas to praise him for his vision and efforts to help establish a four-year university in the heart of town.
With enrollment on the rise, the current Liberty Center is outgrowing its space and capabilities, university officials said.
“We’re just about maxed out for what we can do,” Hoffman said.
The current 10,500-square-foot Liberty Center opened eight years ago inside a commercial shopping center at 740 E. General Stewart Way. Bleicken said the university has had a presence in the Hinesville area since 1969, when the college first offered classes on Fort Stewart.
The center has more than 300 students today and anticipates having 500 enrolled when the new center opens next year.
Hoffman said Armstrong’s leaders realized that in order for the local campus to expand, it would have to relocate.
For more information, go to www.armstrong.edu.