All posts by Haley Hughes

Phase one of Student Center dining services expansion nearly complete

Phase one of the dining services expansion in the Student Center on the Health Sciences Campus is nearing completion, and phase two is well underway.

Students returning to campus on Monday, Aug. 17,  will find Starbucks open in addition to Simply-to-Go food options like pre-wrapped sandwiches and salads. Chick-fil-A will return, as well, with a mobile cart during lunchtime hours.

The Atrium Food Court will be open for dining in.

Phase two plans call for the addition of a full-service, cafeteria-style food line that will offer hot entrees, a salad bar, display cooking, a dessert bar and more.

The food line will be constructed on the first floor in the Atrium Food Court.

This comes in anticipation of the fall 2016 opening of the new student housing complex, which will house more than 700 undergraduate and graduate students combined.

“Once complete, the renovations will serve as a perfect complement to the new housing facilities located just yards away. Combined with the campus recreation opportunities at the Wellness Center, the site will serve as a hub for the entire GRU community,” said Dale Hartenburg, Assistant Vice President of Student Services.

The footprint of the Student Center won’t change, but the interior is undergoing a remodel to accommodate the new food line and to improve the overall aesthetics.

The first floor of the Atrium Food Court will retain its traditional, but refreshed, table-and-chair seating while the second floor will offer lounge space with couches and TVs.

The new venue will offer full service by fall 2016.

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CERT program certifies disaster responders

Georgia Regents Medical Center on-call chaplain Linda Hamilton knows exactly what to do should disaster strike in the hospital, at Georgia Regents University, in Richmond County or at her home.

She’ll use the knowledge and skills she learned through GRU-GRHealth’s inaugural Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training program to respond and assist as needed. Hamilton was one of 11 that completed the program and received certification this week.

“I now have more tools to work with in helping people,” said Hamilton, an Army veteran. “In a catastrophe, chaplains are still needed because we consider the wholeness of the person (not just their physical well being).”

Offered by the office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response in partnership with Richmond County Emergency Management, the training included disaster preparedness, disaster fire suppression, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue operations, disaster psychology and team organization, and disaster simulation.

The CERT program was offered free of charge to students, faculty, staff and volunteers.

Alex Cordray said the training was “a little out of what I normally do – I’m a computer nerd – but it’s all about teamwork. Teamwork is absolutely important because no one can do it alone.”

GRMC Emergency Management Supervisor Kevin Wells said the CERT program will be offered again in the fall.

Facilities Services Vice President Phil Howard was on hand Monday to present each person who participated in the program a certificate of completion.

“I know the community will benefit from it, and hopefully you benefited from it,” he said.

Email Wells at kewells@gru.edu or call 729-2069 to sign up for the fall class.

GRU’s Unsung Heroes: Pest Control Specialist

They walk the halls with us and work diligently beside us. However, many of us are not aware of “behind-the-scenes” staff who ensure Georgia Regents University is a premier institution in which to work and learn.

In an effort to show our appreciation to these employees, Georgia Regents University has started the GReport series Unsung Heroes as a way to highlight individuals or professions that make a substantive yet unrecognized contribution to the university and our community.

Today, we highlight Thaddeus Sands, Pest Control Specialist with GRU Environmental Services.

GRU Augusta Faculty and Staff
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If there’s something strange in your Georgia Regents University office, who are you going to call? Thaddeus Sands.

As Pest Control Specialist for GRU Environmental Services, it’s Sands’ job to rid the campus of any pesky critters who have found their way into offices and classrooms. He takes care of everything from ants, cockroaches, bats, birds, and foxes to opossums and snakes.

He is responsible for the pest control of 74 buildings between the Health Sciences Campus, Summerville Campus and Forest Hills Campus.

“There’s never a dull moment. Every day is interesting,” Sands said. “It’s to a point where you don’t want to miss a day a work because you never know what you might get.”

On June 8, he responded to a complaint of an opossum in a building. It didn’t take much to get the marsupial to leave; it walked behind him right out the door, Sands said.

On June 11, he captured a non-venomous juvenile rat snake on the Health Sciences Campus. As often as he can, he relocates snakes to Phinizy Swamp Nature Park.

This time of year, snakes are common visitors on campus, Sands said, as are ants and cockroaches.

“An ant is easiest to get rid of. You can find a trail – most times someone has some food. The hardest thing, I’d say, is a bird because they can fly away,” Sands said.

Sands has been with GRU for two years, having worked previously for the Richmond County School System in pest control. He has also worked for Terminix and Orkin. He fell in love with the line of work during an internship at a pest control company while getting his degree in marketing.

“I love doing what I’m doing. No pests, no worries. That’s our motto,” Sands said.

Do you know someone or a department that should be featured in GRU’s Unsung Heroes series? Email us your suggestion at GRU_News@gru.edu

Expanded dining services coming to Student Center

Georgia Regents University is expanding dining services in the Student Center on the Health Sciences Campus.

The design process is not yet complete, but plans call for the addition of a full-service, cafeteria-style food line that will offer hot entrees, a salad bar, display cooking, a dessert bar and more.

The food line will be constructed on the first floor of the Student Center in what is known as the Atrium Food Court.

This comes in anticipation of the fall 2016 opening of the new student housing complex, which will house more than 700 undergraduate and graduate students combined.

The footprint of the Student Center won’t change, but the interior will undergo a remodel to accommodate the new food line and to improve the overall aesthetics.

The first floor of the Atrium Food Court will retain its traditional, but refreshed, table-and-chair seating while the second floor will offer lounge space with couches and TVs.

The new venue will offer full service by fall 2016.

Hive highlights vital role of honey bees

The United States’ honey bee population has been in steep decline over the last decade or more, and a special addition to Georgia Regents University is teaching students how to be part of the solution .

In April, Facilities Management Maintenance Supervisor Tim Dobbs installed an observation bee hive in the Shetfall-Cleckley Greenhouse at GRU’s Summerville Campus in collaboration with Biology Professor Donna Wear with the hope that students learn and see firsthand how integral the honey bee is to the earth’s ecological system.

This spring, Professor Wear’s Evolutionary Biology class was the first group to visit the observation hive.

“Mr. Dobbs presented a brief lecture about honey bees to my students, after which they were able to observe sociobiology in action,” Professor Wear said. “They were all enthusiastic about the learning experience.”

“Honey bees are fascinating social organisms from both an ecological and evolutionary perspective. Pollinators are crucial to our global production of food. In fact, about one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants, and the honey bee is responsible for 80 percent of that pollination, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” Professor Wear said.

The insect’s vital role in food production is why their disappearance is so concerning. Just last week, the White House outlined its strategy to strengthen the nation’s struggling honey bee and monarch butterfly populations, calling for expanding the acreage devoted to the flowers crucial to the bees’ and butterflies’ survival.

Scientists have yet to isolate a single cause of the honey bees’ demise, called colony collapse disorder, but a certain type of pesticides introduced in the 1990s has been known to interfere with a bee’s homing ability.

“Honey bees are very important to our livelihood. They’re a beneficial bug,” said Dobbs. “I am really proud Professor Wear wanted to do this.”

Dobbs built the Greenhouse’s observation hive himself with a blueprint purchased online. He then stocked the hive with approximately 10,000 bees and checks it once or twice a week. Observers can easily see the worker bees and drone bees performing their respective duties in the hive and, if you’re lucky, watch the queen lay her eggs.

Dobbs has been a bee enthusiast since he was a young boy, and built his first hive 30 years ago.

“Mr. Dobbs has been a beekeeper for many years, and even he has witnessed bee behavior in the observation hive that he had never before been able to observe. The observation hive provides a wonderful teaching and learning opportunity for students of all ages, who need to be reminded of the ecological processes that feed us,” Professor Wear said.

“Campus of tomorrow:” Ground broken on new residence halls

Ground was broken Friday on a new 724-bed student housing complex that will, as Georgia Regents University President Dr. Ricardo Azziz said, elevate the student experience to an entirely new level.

Not only will GRU’s new residence halls help attract and retain students, it will offer students opportunities to engage in enriching campus activities.

“I take great pleasure in picturing the GRU campus of tomorrow when students will stroll out of their new residence halls, talking and laughing with new friends, where living and learning is an actual event,” Azziz said.

Azziz joined Vice President of Enrollment & Student Affairs Dr. Mark Allen Poisel and other senior leaders, the undergraduate and graduate student government presidents, representatives of Corvias Campus Living and others in turning over dirt in the parking lot of Residence V where construction will soon begin.

Located on the Health Sciences Campus, the complex will consist of one residence hall for undergraduate students and one for graduate and professional students. The 412-bed undergraduate hall will have two-bedroom suites while the 312-bed graduate hall will have studio and one-bedroom apartments.

The new complex will replace existing facilities that have a combined 220 beds.

Demolition of existing facilities will begin soon, with the residence halls scheduled to open in fall 2016.

GRU is one of nine institutions in the University System of Georgia benefitting from the $527-million agreement with Corvias Campus Living. The Public-Private Partnership designates Corvias as the developer of more than 3,000 new beds and the manager of more than 6,000 existing beds of on-campus housing with the University System for the next 65 years.

“We know this is just the beginning of a new adventure, not only an adventure for us – the institution and our students – but for USG as we partner with Corvias Campus Living to create this new creative environment for our students,” Poisel said.

Laney-Walker Blvd. detours in effect

Vehicles are being directed to detour around Laney-Walker Boulevard because enhancement work has begun on the .36-mile stretch between 15th Street and R.A. Dent Boulevard.

Instead of utilizing Laney-Walker Boulevard through Georgia Regents University’s Health Sciences Campus, through traffic has to travel 15th Street, R.A. Dent Boulevard and Walton Way.

Signage and barricades are up at each end of Laney-Walker notifying motorists of detours, and will remain there through the project’s six- to eight-month duration. Barricades are up, and flagmen are in place to aid motorists and pedestrians.

Access to the university’s Student Center, the Kelly Administration Building, Central Distribution Warehouse and the Cancer Center will be maintained throughout the project and managed with signage and flagmen.

The Cancer Center’s adjacent parking deck will also be accessible throughout the project.

Parking lots 3 and 11 should be accessed from the west end of Laney-Walker from 15th Street. Parking lot 14 should be accessed from St. Sebastian Way.

The enhancements include narrowing the road from four lanes to two, adding raised crosswalks and new landscaping buffers. Bike lanes will also be added in each direction.

The improvements will decrease pedestrian traffic from curb to curb; reduce the number of pedestrian mid-block crossings; eliminate the need for crosswalk guards in the morning and evening; improve driver visibility; and improve Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility for GRU personnel and the community.

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GRU to break ground on new residence halls Friday

Georgia Regents University, in partnership with the University System of Georgia Board of Regents and Corvias Campus Living, will break ground on the site of a new 723-bed student housing complex on Friday.

Located on the Health Sciences Campus, the complex will consist of one residence hall for undergraduate students and one for graduate and professional students. The 413-bed undergraduate hall will have two-bedroom suites while the 310-bed graduate hall will have studio and one-bedroom apartments.

“The new housing complex is our first step at building a more comprehensive student life experience for all of our students. Adding new student housing to our current portfolio will allow GRU to provide a much better student experience for our new incoming students,” said Dr. Mark Allen Poisel, GRU Vice President for Enrollment Services and Student Affairs.

The ground breaking ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Residence V, across from the College of Dental Medicine.

The new complex will replace existing facilities that have a combined 220 beds.

Demolition of existing facilities will begin in May, with the new residence halls scheduled to open in fall 2016.

GRU is one of nine institutions in the University System benefitting from the $517-million agreement with Corvias Campus Living. The Public-Private Partnership designates Corvias as the developer of 3,683 new beds and the manager of 6,195 existing beds of on-campus housing with the University System for the next 65 years. The partnership is the first time a state higher education system has privatized residence hall living.

At GRU, the new residence halls will provide undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to meet new people and engage in enriching campus activities to make the most of their college experience.

“The location will be very convenient for the graduate and professional students and will allow them the convenience of living close to their classes, labs, and clinical experiences. The new freshmen will now be located on campus and in walking distance to the wellness center, the health sciences student activity center, and the student health center,” Poisel said.

Laney-Walker enhancements to begin soon

Over the next six to eight months, the stretch of Laney-Walker Boulevard running through the heart of Georgia Regents University’s Health Sciences Campus will undergo a transformation.

On May 11, crews will begin work to improve the safety and aesthetic of the .36-mile-length of Laney-Walker between 15th Street and R.A. Dent Boulevard by narrowing the road from four lanes to two, adding raised crosswalks and new landscaping buffers. Bike lanes will also be added in each direction.

The improvements will decrease pedestrian travel from curb to curb; reduce the number of pedestrian mid-block crossings; eliminate the need for crosswalk guards in the morning and evening; improve driver visibility; and improve Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility for GRU personnel and the community.

Motorists will be temporarily detoured around the impacted section of Laney-Walker for the duration of the project. Signage will be placed at each end of Laney-Walker May 4-May 5 to notify motorists of upcoming detours.

Through traffic will be directed to travel 15th Street, R.A. Dent and Walton Way instead of Laney-Walker. Access to the Student Center, the Kelly Administration Building, Central Distribution Warehouse, the Cancer Center and Cancer Center parking deck will be maintained and managed with signage and flagmen.

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GRU partners with Phinizy, others to hold Earth Day event

Georgia Regents University has again partnered several other entities to hold Augusta’s Earth Day celebration, which promotes environmental responsibility and sustainable living initiatives, on Saturday, April 18.

phinizy swamp  1 (1)Held at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, the event will feature live entertainment, local arts and crafts vendors, green and local business vendors and family activities. This is the second year GRU has served as a partner in the event, this time teaming up with Phinizy Center for Water Sciences, the City of Augusta and the Augusta Utilities Department.

The motto this year is “It’s Your Turn to Take the Lead!” The event starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m., rain or shine. There is no charge for admission.

City of Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis Jr., Mrs. Ricardo Azziz and Dr. Oscar Flite, Ph.D. are scheduled to give the welcome address at 11:45 a.m.

“Our mission, as well as the City of Augusta’s, is to develop, promote and implement a responsible sustainability program incorporating all forms of environmental stewardship and practices to meet the needs of Georgia Regents University, the City of Augusta and Mother Earth,” said Mario Enriquez, GRU Facilities Services Manager.

twoExhibits and activities include a reptile exhibit, a birds of prey exhibit, guided hikes of Phinizy Swamp, face painting, yoga and tai-chi mini sessions, hoop dancing and Auggie & Kirby the Kangaroo mascots.

Live entertainers include The Henrys, Eryn Eubanks & The Family Fold and Southeastern Reptile Rescue.

On-site recycling will be available at the event for materials like old batteries, electronics, paper, plastic, metal, tires, glass and Styrofoam. GRU’s own Green Team, an enterprise-wise sustainability committee, will collect used cell phones for recycling.

Phinizy Swamp Nature Park is located at 1858 Lock and Dam Road.