State budget includes $5 million to renovate GSW’s James Earl Carter Library

Published 2:07 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2023

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By Chelsea Collins


AMERICUS – Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the $32.4 billion Fiscal Year 2024 state budget (House Bill 19) Friday, May 5. Included in the upcoming year’s spending plan is a $5 million bond package to renovate Georgia Southwestern State University’s (GSW) James Earl Carter Library.

“This is exciting news for the Georgia Southwestern and Americus communities,” said GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D. “We worked very closely with University System of Georgia and our delegation in the General Assembly to secure the funding for this project. Sen. Freddie Powell Sims, Rep. Mike Cheokas and Rep. Patty Bentley were great advocates throughout the legislative session.”

“When the Carter Library renovation is complete, I believe it will be a good representation of what a 21st century college campus should look like with state-of-the-art technology and design, open space for students to study and collaborate, and availability to resources that will facilitate student success in the classroom,” Weaver added.

GSW’s Carter Library renovation project was included on the University System of Georgia’s FY2024 list of recommended capital construction projects, which then must be funded by the Georgia legislature and ultimately approved by the governor. This is GSW’s first state construction/renovation project since the Florrie Chappell Gymnasium was restored with funding from FY2020.

Named for the father of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, the James Earl Carter Library was completed in 1971. James Earl Carter (1894-1953) was a Sumter County farmer and businessman, civic leader, strong supporter of education, and representative from Sumter County to the General Assembly of Georgia. He served on the Sumter County Board of Education for 17 years and was chairman of that board at the time of his death.

The James Earl Carter Library was officially dedicated on June 7, 1973 following the graduation ceremony where the Honorable Jimmy Carter, 76th governor of Georgia and son of the library’s namesake, was the commencement speaker.

Standing at 63,270 square feet, the Carter Library has not undergone an extensive renovation since that time. With these funds, GSW plans to reestablish the Library as a destination for all students to study and to use resources they need to be academically successful in an increasingly technological world.

Upon completion, this project will upgrade the HVAC air handler, update electrical work, relocate books from the first floor to higher density storage on the second floor, develop an open floor plan concept for the first floor, provide infrastructure to make library resources available across campus, update bathrooms, and provide new furniture, new computer clusters, new flooring and a new service desk.

Renovation architect and construction manager selections will take place later this calendar year.