Brenau Proposes Leasing Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville for Graduate Programs Expansion

Brenau University asked the Gainesville City Council for the opportunity to evaluate a long-term arrangement for the university to lease the Georgia Mountains Center as part of its expansion plans. President Ed Schrader outlined the proposal in a council work session Thursday for the execution of a memorandum of understanding between the city and Brenau, the university will in its planning consider the Mountains Center as the home for its rapidly expanding graduate-level programs, particularly those in the allied health and rehabilitative services arena. The mayor and four members of the city council are expected to vote on the proposition at the regular council, meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Brenau Proposes Leasing Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville for Graduate Programs ExpansionAccording to Schrader, Brenau has been looking for space in the Gainesville area or elsewhere for expansions of graduate programs – including adding additional programs in allied health care and rehabilitative services like physical therapy, speech therapy/audiology and nutrition science. The Mountains center, the conference and convention venue where Brenau holds its commencement exercises, has been losing money in recent years, and the city government asked for proposals from outside entities for its future use.

The Brenau proposal would require significant renovation of the facility and some repurposing, but portions still would be available for theater productions, sporting events, small conventions, trade shows and professional meetings, and other similar activities. Schrader explained that approval of the MOU gives Brenau leeway to consider the Mountains Center as the primary locale for allied health expansions and to spend money to do studies and designs to determine whether the plans are feasible. Any university execution for a long-term lease on the facility could only follow approval of the Board of Trustees in March 2012.

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Thursday, September 01, 2011