Armstrong and Hinesville: Partners on New Education Hub
(May 9, 2013) Armstrong announces a major initiative for Armstrong-Liberty Center. In partnership with the City of Hinesville, the university will build an expanded new facility in downtown Hinesville to accommodate more students, classroom and laboratory space, and programs that will serve all students in the region, from traditional freshman to returning military and working professionals. The new Armstrong-Liberty Center will also provide an economic boost to downtown Hinesville with the influx of more students, personnel and events.
“This formalizes construction of a long-anticipated and much-needed facility,” said Armstrong President Linda Bleicken. “Our partnership with the City of Hinesville allows an expanded presence to create new educational pathways in the region for students of all ages. Armstrong also looks forward to serving the military population, their families, and other adult students with the flexible options we are able to provide.”
“The Armstrong-Liberty Center project is one of the most significant educational events that has taken place in Hinesville and Liberty County in a long time,” said City of Hinesville Mayor James Thomas, Jr. “We are a Metropolitan Statistical Area, and the only one in Georgia that does not have a four-year college presence. More of our high school students will have a chance to go to school here in town as opposed to someplace else. Armstrong-Liberty Center will also allow students who do not have the resources to move to other cities to go to school at home. In addition, the new building will add significantly to the revitalization of Memorial Drive and downtown.”
The Armstrong-Liberty Center expansion is made possible with $6 million in infrastructure and land acquisition from the City of Hinesville and $4.7 million in state funding. Groundbreaking could begin as early as fall 2013, and classes are projected to begin at the new Armstrong-Liberty Center with the spring 2015 semester.
Expanded Degree Options Offer New Opportunities
Once complete, the new Armstrong-Liberty Center will allow the university to offer new programs in a variety of fields, including programs tailored for working professionals and the military. With the availability of new classroom and laboratory space, the university will add new Associate of Science degrees in science and technology. Traditional, nontraditional and military students will be able to take advantage of these new degree programs with flexible schedules and online and hybrid course offerings.
New education degree and certificate programs will also be added to the curriculum at Armstrong-Liberty Center. The new programs will give Liberty County teachers easy access to graduate degrees that will allow them to upgrade their certifications.
Enhanced Military Outreach Efforts
As the 3rd Infantry Division returns to Fort Stewart, many service men and women will seek degrees and certificates to advance their rank or make the transition into the civilian workplace. The expanded Armstrong-Liberty Center will help them meet those needs and offer more degrees and certificates in fields that appeal to many returning military, such as cyber security and criminal justice.
With its close proximity to Fort Stewart, Armstrong-Liberty Center will also be convenient for military spouses and family members. In addition, many of the university’s degree and certificate programs are part of the MyCAA program, giving eligible military spouses up to $4000 in financial assistance.
Higher Education and Health Professions
The expanded Armstrong-Liberty Center will allow Armstrong to take the university’s health professions program further, and not only provide career tracks for individuals in the area but also provide the community with excellently prepared health professionals.
Health Professions education is a top priority at Armstrong. The university awards the most undergraduate degrees in the allied health professions in the University System of Georgia. At Armstrong-Liberty Center, the health professions programs have already been expanding, with the addition of many new Associate of Science degree tracks. Hinesville students can begin nursing, health sciences, medical laboratory science, radiological science, rehabilitation science, respiratory therapy and communication sciences and disorders tracks towards the Associate of Science degree.
Beginning in fall 2013, nursing students in the professional phase of Armstrong’s nursing program in Savannah will conduct their clinicals at Liberty Regional Medical Center in Hinesville. This partnership with Liberty Regional paves the way for future Armstrong-Liberty Center students to begin their studies in Hinesville and return for their clinicals at Liberty Regional. One of the many benefits of Armstrong nursing students working in regional hospitals is that nurses typically embark on their careers where they trained. Armstrong expects to partner with other area hospitals, including the military hospital and VA clinic, to create a healthcare hub for the region.
Traditional College Experience for Traditional Students
While many aspects of the expanded Armstrong-Liberty Center appeal to adult and military students, the new facility will also be a magnet for traditional students to launch their college careers. Students from Liberty County and the surrounding counties can live at home and earn an associate degree at Armstrong-Liberty Center then move seamlessly to finish their bachelor’s degrees at the main campus in Savannah.
The new facility will also allow Armstrong-Liberty Center to accommodate more dual-enrollment students, high school students who enroll in college courses before they graduate. Dual-enrollment allows students not only to get a head start on coursework but also acclimate to the college classroom experience before attending full-time. Armstrong will continue its strong partnerships with high schools in the area to recruit dual-enrollment students and open the doors to college at Armstrong-Liberty Center.
Downtown Revitalization and Economic Impact
The expanded Armstrong-Liberty Center will allow the university to become an integral part of Hinesville and Liberty County. The new facility will bring new life and increased economic activity to downtown Hinesville. More students and personnel will help sustain local businesses, and the university will have more opportunities to partner with Liberty County companies and organizations. Downtown universities are drivers of many cities’ economies, and Armstrong-Liberty Center will be no different.
“The new facility will build upon what is already a beautiful downtown area, while providing increased opportunities for the residents of Liberty and surrounding counties,” said Peter Hoffman, director of Armstrong-Liberty Center. “An investment of this magnitude is commensurate with the demand for higher education in this region and also reflects a commitment by our state and local leaders to meet the needs of our citizens. The new Armstrong Liberty Center will answer that demand, providing the quality education that Armstrong is known for in a location convenient for the people of Liberty County.”