The development of the West Fayetteville area surrounding Pinewood Studios is underway as it was announced Friday that Georgia Military College plans to build a new campus at the intersection of South Sandy Creek Road and Veterans Parkway, pending approval from city council.
The project is being developed by Jim Pace's Group VI and Len Gough's Promaker Development Group, the same partnership responsible for Pinewood Atlanta Studios.
"The City is thrilled to finally have an undergraduate school establishing their presence within the City limits," said Director of Community Development Brian Wismer in an e-mail. "GMC has an excellent reputation and will hopefully serve as a catalyst to supplying qualified people to work in the fields of medicine and film technology, which we will need here locally."
The Pinewood developers have discussed the likelihood that there will eventually be something like a film academy attached to Pinewood that would train and certify people for various skills related to film. Wismer said that this is not a replacement for that concept.
"My understanding is that GMC will eventually develop a curriculum for digital film. We would certainly welcome having another film focused school if that were to develop," Wismer said.
Though a number of development ideas have been tossed around for the West Fayetteville area, this will be the first if it comes to fruition.
"With this being the first non-Pinewood related development in the West Fayetteville Area, we expect this to trigger other development interest in the near future," Wismer said.
According to a press release from Georgia Military College construction will begin this summer and could be done by late spring 2015 with classes starting by August.
The Fayetteville campus will be GMC’s third location in metro Atlanta, including campuses in Fairburn and Stone Mountain, and the school’s 10th location in Georgia, according to the press release.
“We’re continuously evaluating areas of the state where there’s a need for the educational benefits we offer—open enrollment, small class sizes, affordability and relevant curriculum programs,” said Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell, IV, GMC president. “We saw such an opportunity in West Fayetteville, so we conducted our due diligence and formulated a project plan accordingly.”
The press release also said that school officials met with "Mayor Greg Clifton, as well as a member of the city council and the city planner" to discuss the plans. Wismer confirmed that the councilman was Mickey Edwards and that he himself was referred to as the city planner.
“I’m pleased to say our meeting was highly productive and I’m more convinced than ever that opening a new GMC campus in Fayetteville will be a ‘win’ for all involved,” Lt. General Caldwell said in the release. “I’m also greatly looking forward to working in close partnership with Fayetteville leaders to bring this project to fruition.”
The release also indicated that the curriculum would be tailored to the needs of the Fayetteville area.
“In addition, at each of our GMC locations, we work with the community to identify the needs of their particular workforce,” said Mike Holmes, Ph.D., GMC vice president for academic affairs. “We plan to do the same in Fayetteville, tailoring our curriculum to offer relevant entertainment, healthcare and other coursework, as needed.”
The school anticipates an initial enrollment of around 250 students and expects that enrollment to grow to over 1000 within five years.
The release describes Georgia Military College as the state's "second largest, two-year, public college with campuses in Milledgeville, Augusta, Fairburn, Warner Robins, Valdosta and Columbus, extension centers in Madison, Sandersville, and Stone Mountain, and an online campus program. Its enrollment includes more than 8,000 civilian students at these locations, plus 250 junior college cadets and 500 prep school students at their Milledgeville campus."