Georgia Highlands College (GHC) recently received a Downtown First award for Outstanding Brick and Mortar Rehabilitation from the City of Dallas’ Downtown Main Street Advisory Board for renovations completed at the Winn Building, located at the college’s Paulding site in Downtown Dallas.
The renovation project, made possible with a total of $4.1 million in state funding under the fiscal year 2019 state budget, doubled the footprint of the Paulding site and transformed the facility into a modern academic building.
Paulding Site Manager Christina Henggeler nominated the project, saying it was exciting and an honor for the college to be considered for the award amongst the other Downtown Dallas establishments which have undergone renovations.
“I was absolutely surprised and thrilled to win this recognition and honored to represent the GHC Paulding site,” Henggeler said.
Director of Facilities David Van Hook said he has received positive feedback from the Dallas community regarding the renovation, adding the college’s logo and digital signage has created a GHC presence in the downtown area that has never been there before.
“The fact that this building is so prominent at a main intersection and has good signage and landscaping has made a lot of people realize that GHC is an integral part of the Dallas community,” Van Hook said.
The Winn Building, a former bank building, was gifted to GHC in 2010 from Paulding County. The new academic building includes classrooms, a physical education lab, a chemistry lab, student lounges, study rooms, a faculty suite and a beautiful patio area.
The facility improves the student experience by providing up-to-date chemistry lab facilities and an exercise gym for the campus community, as well as the implementation of technology such as a pass-through fume hood and multiple display screens in the chemistry lab.
The project took from February 2020 to July 2021 to complete.
“Repurposing a facility such as a bank into a lab and classroom building while adding student recreation and exercise facilities to the building presented a set of unique obstacles that would have been challenging enough to manage, but doing all of this during the height of the coronavirus pandemic really turned this project into a learning experience,” Van Hook said. “The construction team had to implement previously unheard-of medical protocols, shut down the project for quarantine, and even wait months beyond the promised delivery date for materials due to factory shutdowns.”
Students appreciate the building’s gathering space, soft seating and study rooms for lunch, relaxation and studying between classes.
Henggeler, along with GHC President Mike Hobbs, were recognized during the Downtown First awards ceremony, held at the Dallas Theater on March 21 and hosted by the City of Dallas’ Downtown Main Street Program.
The Downtown First Awards was created by Dallas’ Main Street Advisory Board to honor those that always put Downtown Dallas first. The awards started with dinner catered by Frannick’s Café at the Dallas Civic Center and then the guests moved to the Dallas Theater for the awards ceremony.