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16 June 2005

JSU McClellan, Formerly Building 3181, Now Open

By Sherry Kughn
JSU News Bureau

The L-shaped, yellow-and-brown McClellan Center shines like new now that its $8 million renovation is complete. Renovation started during 2003, and the first occupants moved in this past December. Other occupants moved in within the past few weeks. The two-story building, formerly called Building 3181, is located about a mile from the landmark fire station, and it faces the circular Commandant Drive (soon to be Gamecock Drive).

Delivery people unloaded new furniture recently as cool spring breezes blew across the massive lawn. Inside, students and employees wandered in and out of classrooms and offices along the buff-colored and maroon hallways. Employees responded with excitement to questions about the new facility, which is a joint effort by the state to provide a facility for two institutes of higher learning - Jacksonville State University and Gadsden State Community College.

"I'm excited to be a part of Dr. Meehan's vision of the higher education consortium between the two institutions," said Mr. David Zeigler, director of the McClellan Center. "The consortium is one of a kind in the state."

Mr. Zeigler said the center will allow a smoother transition for students desiring to attend JSU.

The initial idea for using Building 3181, which will be formally re-named later, began around 1999 when Fort McClellan closed. JSU bought the facility from the Joint Powers Authority. It had formerly served the federal government as a military police school. Gadsden State Community College signed a 99-year lease with JSU for half of the space, and they contributed half of the $8 million renovation cost. GSCC moved from the Anniston facility on Noble Street and expanded its service to the community. Both institutions are glad to have the new space.

"Having this facility available at McClellan offers more access to JSU programs by people in Calhoun and Talladega Counties," said Dr. Rebecca Turner, JSU's vice president of academic affairs. "The facility has provided us with opportunities to expand, which is good because our programs have grown."

Dr. Turner said JSU plans to host more workshops in the future at the facility.

John Blue, II, vice president at GSCC, said the McClellan facility will not only allow the college to expand but will also enhance its 20-year educational presence in Calhoun and nearby counties.

"The McClellan center has provided GSCC with state-of-the-art classrooms," said Mr. Blue. "It also has provided us with specialized labs to continue and enhance the delivery of allied health programs and other specialized programs, such as those for emergency medical services and nurses."

Mr. Blue also said GSCC hopes to provide more employee-training programs for the business and industrial community in Calhoun County.

JSU-McClellan is a mini campus complete with an auditorium, a bookstore, and a snack room with vending machines. Housed on the east wing is JSU: Housed on the south wing is GSCC. One feature both institutions are already enjoying is a 450-seat auditorium located on the tip of the south wing. It will serve both educational entities and the entire McClellan community.

JSU uses the facility for long distance education and for housing several non-academic departments. The Institute for Emergency Preparedness housed in JSU McClellan teaches students throughout the world over the Internet. The non-academic departments include the In-service Education Center and the Department of Continuing Education. At a later date, the JSU Archeological Laboratory will be housed in JSU-McClellan. One state agency, the Alabama Police Academy, leases space from JSU. Also the state will lease space in the future for a laboratory and office for the Alabama Department of Forensics Science.

GSCC's online Public Safety Telecommunications (PST) and Emergency Management Services (EMS) are taught exclusively at the McClellan Center. The telecommunications program trains 911 operators in more than 47 states and foreign countries with about 35 students currently enrolled. The EMS program trains paramedics and ambulance drivers.

"One of the things we have been able to do is place the health sciences in one place," said Ms. Kelley Haynes, GSCC's coordinator of the McClellan campus.

For the first time, too, according to Ms. Haynes, a two-year general studies degree from GSCC can be fully obtained in Calhoun County.

"GSCC is pleased to be a part of the community and is also pleased to join JSU in a model education partnership," said Mr. Blue.

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