Tag Archives: J. Harold Harrison M.D. Education Commons

Chinese physicians exchange ideas

The Augusta Chronicle: April 28, 2015

Inside the simulation center at Georgia Regents University, interim Director Wendy Jo Wilkinson was struggling to get the birthing simulator to deliver a fetus when Dr. Xianhui Zhu made a wry observation.

ConfuciusSimLab.Sm“Maybe it’s not her time,” the Chinese cardiologist joked.

Zhu is among a handful of physicians from Jiangsu Province Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medi­cine who are spending three months at GRU as part of an exchange being facilitated by GRU’s Confucius Institute.

While there are a number of such institutes in Georgia and worldwide fostering educational exchanges, GRU’s is the only one between an academic medical center and Chinese institutions that focus on traditional Chinese medicine.

Read: Chinese physicians exchange ideas at GRU

MCG Foundation honors donors, Harrison with $1 million gift toward unretired debt on new building

AUGUSTA, Ga. – To honor donors and inspire future philanthropy, the Medical College of Georgia Foundation, Inc., has contributed $1 million toward retiring remaining debt on the J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons.

“We feel this is an investment in the Medical College and hopefully in philanthropy in the future,” said Dr. Sandra N. Freedman, Chairman of the MCG Foundation Board and a 1968 MCG graduate. “We give our gift in honor of all our donors because it takes all of us together to maintain the quality of education that we want for our students and for the health care of our state.”

The $1 million comes from unrestricted gifts made to the foundation, many by MCG alumni, and earnings from the foundation’s investment of those dollars. In recognition of the gift, the first floor main corridor of the building has been named the Medical College of Georgia Foundation Commons Corridor.

“The Harrison Commons has transformed our medical school experience,” said D. David Davis, President of the Class of 2018, which started freshman year in older facilities and moved into the new building in January. “Thankful is the number one word that comes to mind.”

“We are absolutely grateful to our donors, to our foundation, and to the state of Georgia for its support of their medical school,” said Dr. Peter F. Buckley, MCG Dean. “As David said, the generosity and support of so many coupled with the skilled investment strategy of our foundation enabled this beautiful academic home that has also become a natural gathering spot for our students.”

The three-story, 177,000-square foot Harrison Commons, MCG’s academic home, opened to students in January and bears the name of Dr. J. Harold Harrison, the late 1948 MCG graduate and benefactor, who twice served as Chairman of the MCG Foundation as well as a term as Alumni Association President. Harrison and his wife Sue gave $10 million for the building in 2013 and, after his death, $66 million for scholarships and endowed chairs to help attract the best students and faculty.

Including the $1 million MCG Foundation gift, more than 200 donors have given more than $22 million to support the $76.5 million project to provide state-of-the art learning facilities. Many of the areas of the building, such as small group learning spaces, learning communities, and the administrative suite, bear the name of donors and additional naming opportunities are still available in the building, said Ralph Alee, Associate Vice President for Major Gifts at MCG and GRU. State appropriations totaled $42 million, leaving a remaining debt of about $12.5 million.

Ed Commons earns major rebate for energy efficiency

Not only is the J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons earning high praise from the students and faculty who use it, but it’s actually earning the university a good chunk of change, too.

In addition to the ongoing energy savings racked up by using more efficient equipment, the decision to install that equipment has resulted in a Georgia Power rebate of $18,734.85.

“That was just for building it the way we built it,” said Facilities Engineering Manager Mark Williams. “That’s what they’re looking at – less electricity used. Because the less we use, the more they can provide to somebody else.”

The three-story, 175,000-square-foot building opened in October of last year and was designed to be as energy efficient as possible, given the construction parameters.

“The more efficient the concepts or components are, usually the more expensive they are,” Williams said. “So you’re limited by the building’s budget.”

In other words, there’s a balance between energy savings over time versus up-front cost. While more efficient LED lights were used in certain areas of the Ed Commons building, for example, they were considered too expensive to be used throughout.

The decision to go with proximity sensors in most of the rooms, hallways, common areas, and offices may have given the building a “Star Trek” feeling, but it also contributed to the rebate while also allowing students more flexibility when using the building, since the sensors use a variety of methods to power each room separately.

“If there’s motion or sound or heat, they’ll stay on,” Williams said. “But as the building goes down, if there’s no motion or sound or heat, they’ll shut off.”

This is in contrast to the College of Dental Medicine, which uses a lighting control system to schedule power usage. Williams said such systems are expensive to install – a computer system must communicate with every light, which means that every light has to have its own IP address – and difficult to maintain. They also don’t easily allow for irregular or unplanned use, which means the lights often remain on.

“The idea in concept was great, but the upkeep and cost of maintenance was not looked at fully; so when we built the Ed Commons, we screamed, ‘Don’t go to this type, because it limits people,’” Williams said.

The proximity sensors are also tied into the HVAC system, which has seven different air handlers. The lecture rooms also have CO monitors, so each room is automatically cooled to match its needs. A full lecture room will obviously need more air conditioning than a mostly empty one, and the sensors ensure that the empty one doesn’t get more than it needs.

J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons opens to students

At October’s grand opening of the J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons, people were impressed by the size and scope of the project. Now that students are attending classes in the building, the excitement remains high.

And why not? The three-story, 175,000-square-foot building includes classroom space for both the Medical College of Georgia and the College of Dental Medicine; a 40,000-square-foot interprofessional simulation center; two 300-seat auditoriums; 13 learning communities; and 13 small-group classrooms.

The unique building was made possible by the combination of $42 million in state bond funding and $34.5 million raised through private philanthropy, including a $10 million gift by the late Dr. Harrison, a renowned vascular surgeon and 1948 MCG alum, and his wife, Sue.

For a video tour, click here.

Parking notice: Ed Commons Grand Opening Oct. 16

Please plan for additional congestion in Health Sciences Campus parking lots on Oct. 16 as Georgia Regents University celebrates the grand opening of the J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons. Lots 1 and 2 (tennis courts), 5 (dental medicine), and 10 (gravel lot) may see higher volumes than usual. Additional parking spaces are generally available in lots 61 (Laney High), 69 and 70 (Moore Avenue). Please allow extra time to arrive at your location.

Click here for map of parking on the health sciences campus.

Harrison Education Commons grand opening slated Oct. 16

Georgia Regents University will hold a grand opening ceremony for the J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 16. Speakers will include Gov. Nathan Deal and University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank M. Huckaby.

“The J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons is more than a building. It is evidence of our continued commitment as a university, one that houses the state’s only public medical college, to expand our educational capacity,” said GRU President Ricardo Azziz. “The commons will allow us to better respond to our state’s increased demand for health care professionals, and we’re grateful to our many legislators, donors, and friends who have helped make this building a reality.”

The Harrison Education Commons is a three-story, 175,000-square-foot building with classroom space for the Medical College of Georgia and the College of Dental Medicine and an interprofessional state-of-the-art simulation center. The facility occupies a portion of the site of the former Gilbert Manor housing project and is set to be certified as a LEED Silver building by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The building will feature:

  • A 40,000-square-foot medical simulation center with dedicated 150-seat classroom
  • Two 300-seat classrooms
  • Two additional 150-seat classrooms
  • 13 learning communities
  • 13 small-group classrooms
  • An administrative suite to house the MCG offices of Academic and Student and Multicultural Affairs
  • Café

Construction of the Harrison Education Commons is central to the university’s efforts to address the statewide shortage of physicians and dentists, by providing additional educational space that enables future growth of the medical and dental colleges’ class size.

Georgia, one of the 10 most populous states in the nation that also consistently ranks among the top 10 states in population growth, ranks 41st in the number of physicians per capita, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. The state’s rural and underserved areas are also faced with a shortage of dentists.

“We celebrate the Harrison Education Commons as the new home of the Medical College of Georgia, which embraces academic excellence and interaction and stands as a fitting tribute to our alum, Dr. J. Harold Harrison, as well as future generations of physicians for our state and nation,” said MCG Dean Peter F. Buckley.

“The Harrison Education Commons will serve as a training hub for medical and dental students, faculty, and alumni,” said College of Dental Medicine Dean Carol Lefebvre. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share this state-of-the-art space with colleagues who are on the cutting edge of health education and discovery in our state and in our nation.”

A $10 million leadership gift from the late Dr. J. Harold Harrison and his wife, Mrs. Sue W. Harrison, resulted in the naming of the building. Dr. Harrison was a renowned vascular surgeon and 1948 graduate of the Medical College of Georgia. The University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons as the name of the facility earlier this year.

“We are grateful to Dr. and Mrs. Harrison and our Medical College of Georgia alumni for their deep and abiding support,” said Senior Vice President for Advancement Susan Barcus. “We also have the Augusta community to thank for joining forces with supporters across the state to make this project a philanthropic priority.”

The total construction cost of the project, including the simulation lab, is $76 million. The state of Georgia provided $42 million in bond funding, and the university is raising a total of $34.5 million through private philanthropy.

The building is located adjacent to the College of Dental Medicine.