Students enjoyed a variety of games and entertainment that highlighted a week-long celebration of the center. Student Isaac Waters expressed the thoughts of most of the students.
“The students who voted to impose the additional fees made this facility a reality, despite the fact that most of them are no longer here to enjoy it,” Waters said. “I think that takes vision and a great sense of community. The fees not only have built this building, they also will go toward improvements to student amenities at all our campuses. Today is a celebration for and by students.”
The two-story, 55,000-square-foot building features a game room, grab-and-go café, a two-story open-air student lounge with fireplace, two regulation-sized basketball/volleyball courts with an elevated running track above them, and state-of-the-art weight and cardio rooms. The center also houses the student book store, four offices, a large, 150-person capacity meeting room and a project room for student organizations.
Highlands financed the $18 million student center using the public/private venture process commonly employed throughout the USG. The college and its foundation worked with the Cartersville-Bartow Joint Development Authority to issue bonds backed by a student fee of $100 per semester. Students across all campuses strongly supported the fee for the upgrade of student service space. Fees will be used to pay for the bonds over a 30-year term.
The Cartersville campus opened in 2005.