By Cathy Cox, Guest Contribution
Regrettably, the Staff Opinion piece in the recent issue of the Enotah Echoes contained a number of factual errors that painted an overall unjustified picture of YHC’s decision to construct new student apartments.
First, the article suggested students had no input into the decision to build apartments. In fact, students were consulted in surveys prior to design and construction of the apartments to gain a clearer insight into what students desired in a new addition to the residential options available on campus – and the units were designed with that feedback in mind.
Secondly, the article suggested that the College acted extravagantly, and wastefully, in putting granite countertops in the new apartments — but no one from the newspaper ever asked any College official to confirm this. The truth is that due to an anomaly in the commodities market in Georgia at the time of procurement for the Senior Village project, granite countertops ended up being approximately 25% less expensive than the Avonite countertops that were included in the Enotah Hall project (and that are included in long-term focused student housing projects all over the country).
The granite countertops avoid significant and costly maintenance issues that student housing facilities around the country face when forced to use solid surface or plastic laminate surfaces. These types of surfaces require regular replacement, invoke end user complaints, and cause the depletion of project’s reserve funds, which YHC will be able to use to maintain and enhance other parts of the project. Additionally, the granite countertops allowed YHC to use a very natural product, which is line with the overall campus commitment to sustainability in its new facilities.
Lastly, the bathroom vanities in the project will also be granite, in lieu of cultured marble (as in Enotah), due to the same decrease in commodity cost, which provides a significantly greater long-term focus on maintenance and overall cost to students for the project. In generally, granite countertops are an investment that most institutions regret not making and the market realities allowed YHC to capitalize on its ability to include these in the project.
The article also said Winship is being closed because it is old and dated, but the fact is that Winship is only being closed because it is in the preferred location, along with the old gym/pool building, for construction of the new Campus Center which we hope will begin before the end of this year. The Campus Center will provide greatly expanded dining facilities for the campus, along with a new three-story library and all new student center to serve the entire campus.
We have tried to provide housing options for YHC students at a variety of price points, while adding new options that offer upperclassmen more privacy, independence and some separation from other residential halls on campus – all in response to student requests. We have also designed the new Campus Center, library and student center with student requests in mind – and it will provide far more group study spaces (indoor and outdoor), advanced technology, student organization work and meetings spaces, student government chambers, dining space that doubles the size of the campus restaurant, convenience store and café, 350-seat banquet room, and much, much more.
I hope that future articles concerning campus construction projects will rely on a more accurate recitation of the facts – I’m always available to get the right information to you!
Thanks for letting me add this clarification –
By Holly Meyer, Staff Writer
Young Harris College President Cathy Cox is taking new steps to ensure that the first class of seniors is prepared for the working world in as many ways possible. This year will be the first time YHC has seen a senior class in over a century.
For preparation and celebration of these students, President Cox will be organizing a list of guest speakers. Each of which has succeeded in their own line of work to come to YHC and give some inspiration, guidance and insight on how they used their own educational experience to prepare them for their particular field. Each speaker will come from a different professional background to best relate to each student’s chosen career path.
“I wanted to do something more to introduce our students to a variety of careers,” Cox said in a prepared statement.
There will be a guest speaker every month this semester. Alicia Philipp will be the next guest speaker to come to YHC on Oct. 1. Philipp is the President of Atlanta Community Foundation.
Philipp became president of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta in 1977, which is one of the largest and fastest growing non- profit organizations in the country.
She has been named as one of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “100 Most Influential Atlantans” and has led the Foundation’s grant making, fundraising with donors, nonprofits and community leaders for more than 30 years.
While under her direction, the Community Foundation has grown from $7 million 30 years ago, to more than $625 million.
In 2009, the Community Foundation provided a record $138.4 million in grants to nonprofits and faith-based organizations locally, nationally and internationally.
Philipp has influenced the Foundation to consider the best ways to serve a larger community and to focus on donor engagement and profits. The Community Foundation has served the Georgia Center for Nonprofits and the Atlanta Women’s Foundation and has also created other initiatives: including the Atlanta AIDS Partnership Fund, the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund and the Neighborhood Fund.
President Cox urges all students to take advantage of this opportunity, but seniors will have first dibs on reserving seats.
Seats will be limited to 25 students at each luncheon to ensure that each is kept in a small comfortable environment. This way, no one will feel shy about asking questions and opening discussions.
Students interested in participating, and making reservations are asked to contact Teresa Hobbs in the Office of the President at (706) 379-5137 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. All luncheons will be held in the Robinson Dining Room at 12 pm.
There will be another luncheon held on Nov. 5 with news anchor Monica Kaughman Pearson. Pearson is a 29-time Local and Southern Regional Emmy award winner, for Channel 2 News.