Gwinnett Technical College’s new Computer Information Systems, Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies Building was touted as a game changer by Gov. Brian Kemp and college President D. Glen Cannon on Monday.
The governor, Gwinnett Technical College officials and local leaders broke ground for the new building, as well as the expansion of the college’s Building 100. The new building is part of a growing computer sciences-related program at Gwinnett Tech, which is set to add a driver-less and connected vehicles program to its educational offerings in the fall.
“(This) groundbreaking is another major project at Gwinnett Tech,” Kemp told attendees at the groundbreaking ceremony. “We’re unveiling new opportunities for students to learn new skills and to be able to step into that workforce.”
The Computer Information Systems, Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies Building will be three stories tall and have more than 82,000 square feet of space with 29 classrooms, an eSports lab, a networking lab that has a dedicated data center, a new quad, a cybersecurity “war room,” a gaming technologies room and several flexible use rooms that can be used by a variety of programs.
The new building will house computer sciences and gaming.
“Today is truly a milestone for the college,” Cannon said. “We’re going to set the stage for what’s next, not only for Gwinnett Tech, but for the future of work as we’ll come to know it.
“This new building is going to be a launchpad for students to enter careers in current and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and virtual and augmented reality.”
The new facility is expected to help address workforce needs for a technology sector has been growing tremendously in the Gwinnett County and northern Fulton County areas, said Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Greg Dozier.
“The new facility enables the college to expand our cybersecurity program and place more individuals into those roles, as well as the emerging technology sector,” Dozier said.
Kemp added, “It will really help us continue to sell this state to those that want to expand here or move their business here.”
Meanwhile, the renovation of Building 100 — which is the oldest building on the Gwinnett Technical College campus — will include a more than 36,000-square-foot renovation, the repaving of three parking lots, the construction of one new parking lot, a new library and new lab spaces for biology and physics classes, a facelift to its 200 corridor and a new flexible lab that can be used for multiple health sciences disciplines.
The One-Stop student services area will also be expanded and renovated, with an expanded entrance, a facelift for the existing enrollment stations and waiting area and the addition of more enrollment stations. The Student Life Center will get a total overhaul with new gaming stations, new furnishings and a greater seating capacity, additional power and charging stations and the installation of roll-up glass doors that lead to the outside area.
And, the library will get a new entrance from the outside as part of the renovation, in addition to more computer stations, multiple study and spaces, a recording space for instructors and students and the establishment of a Center for Teaching Excellence.
Gwinnett Tech Student Government Association President Chevonne Vincent said the renovations to Building 100 will help create new opportunities and experience for future students at the college.
“New enrollment stations at One Stop will us admit all of those eager minds, new science labs will help us support our ever-needed health care programs, the library will gain more computer stations and a sanctuary of meeting spaces and, when you need a little breather from face-to-face interaction, then the updates to the Student Life Center will give you that great escape,” Vincent said.
“Personally, as a criminal justice student, I’m really excited about the facelift to the CJ classrooms, but that’s just me.”
All in all, officials who spoke at the groundbreaking said the two projects at Gwinnett Tech will have long lasting impacts for the area.
“It will change the lives of our students and our community as we move rapidly into this exponentially changing paradigm of how we use and interact with technology, and explore how these technologies will be harnessed and change the way we work, live and communicate,” Cannon said.