Beeson Hall reopens after major rennovations
Georgia College celebrated historic Beeson Hall’s grand reopening on Friday, Nov. 3. This historic building had not seen any major refurbishments since its construction in 1937.
After lying dormant for 21 years, Beeson Hall underwent massive renovations to provide more office space for several departments and a myriad of opportunities for GC students.
The building was named after J. Luther Beeson, who taught chemistry at Georgia College from 1897 to 1926 and served as president until 1934. Three years later, Beeson Hall was built with New Deal funding and used as a residence hall for students and faculty until 1996, when it was no longer needed to house students.
Since then, it has been used as swing space for faculty offices as other buildings have been renovated. Beeson Hall, lacking modern heating, air conditioning, electric and wiring systems, has been in dire need of renovation.
“When regarding the restoration of this building, we wanted to capture the value of its post-Depression heritage while rejuvenating its usefulness with modern technology: state-of-the-art facilities to meet today’s current demands for offices, meeting spaces, collaborative areas and laboratories,” said Dr. Steve Dorman, president of Georgia College.
The construction team focused on preserving the historic nature of the building during the renovation, choosing to save close to 80% of the original hardwood floors from 1937 and reintroducing design elements that had been forgotten in minor renovations over the years.
Of the overall $11.1 million budget funded by the state, between $8.4 and $8.5 million were spent on construction alone. The rest of the budget was spent in FF&E (furniture, fixtures, and equipment) and in the building’s accessibility through features such as an elevator and three entrances.
Beeson Hall now accommodates offices for the departments of World Languages & Cultures, Geography, Philosophy & Liberal Studies, Mass Communications (as Terrell Hall is being renovated), the Center for Program Evaluation & Development and the physics program.
“Beeson Hall is a huge development for our Physics program, especially when it has the potential to be within the top five or even number one in the country for largest class of graduating physics majors in the 2018 Fiscal Year,” said Dr. Ken McGill, chair of the chemistry and physics department. “We are so grateful to have the space we need for labs and research to provide a high-quality and beneficial experience for both our students and faculty at Georgia College.”
Junior Aidan Burleson, a physics major, said the physics program’s research groups have more space to work in Beeson than they did in Herty Hall, where all the research groups were cramped into one room.
“The new labs feel fresh and provide a better working environment for research and for lab classes,” Burleson said.
Mark Bowen, senior project manager on the renovation, said he is extremely proud of the work that has been done on Beeson Hall.
“I have walked by this building for over 20 years as a staff member wishing we could do something with it,” Bowen said. “It’s exciting for me that everyone will be able to appreciate and use the space to add to the same history of Georgia College which we worked so hard to preserve.”