Atlanta’s Oldest College of Nursing Relocates from Downtown to DeKalb County


Atlanta — After nearly 100 years of calling downtown Atlanta home, Georgia Baptist College of Nursing (GBCN) has moved 15 miles up I-85 to Mercer University’s Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus and to a new state-of-the-art facility.

The move came almost one year after the College merged with Mercer in January 2001.

“The students and faculty are finding that the superbly designed classrooms, offices and Learning Resource Center provide an environment conducive for study, research and community activities,” said Dean Susan S. Gunby.

Over the past year, Mercer was hard at work preparing for the move, which was part of the merger plans. In November 2000, University officials, faculty, staff and students broke ground on the new academic building. Smith Dalia Architects of Atlanta designed the three-story, 60,000-square-foot facility.

“The new building is gorgeous,” said sophomore Ashley Marcellus of Marietta. “It’s nice to be in a state-of-the-art place. I like being a part of it.”

In addition to traditional seminar rooms and classrooms, the building has laboratories for microbiology, anatomy and physiology. Two nursing clinical skills labs, equipped with patient beds, provides hands-on clinical training. An Intensive Care Unit learning lab uses new technology to simulate critical care environments.

“This building is designed to give our nursing students the very best learning environment,” said Mercer President R. Kirby Godsey.

“It’s a very comfortable place to be,” said senior Dana Mathis of Riverdale. “One of the things I love up here is the open space, the grass and the trees, and being able to walk around a more traditional campus.”

Mathis, who spent previous years living in the dorms of GBCN’s downtown building, is now living in a new apartment on the Mercer campus. “I love it,” she said. “It’s nice having my own space to come home to.”

In addition to the academic and clinical training provided on campus, Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University incorporates a unique three-year clinical sequence in its curriculum. This hands-on learning, which takes place at more than 40 clinical sites in and around metro-Atlanta, gives Mercer students broad exposure to the many facets of nursing.

Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University offers the bachelor of science in nursing degree, the RN-BSN Advanced Track and, beginning this fall, the master of science in nursing degree.

GBCN is celebrating its centennial anniversary this year, with plans under way for a gala event in October, including a dedication of the new building.

Founded in 1833, Mercer University is one of the largest Baptist-affiliated institutions in the world and is the only independent university of its size in the nation to offer degree programs in liberal arts, business, engineering, education, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, law and theology.

In addition to the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University, the Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus is home to Mercer’s Southern School of Pharmacy, McAfee School of Theology, and graduate programs in the Stetson School of Business and Economics and the Tift College of Education.

For the past 12 years, U.S. News and World Report has named Mercer as one of the leading universities in the South.

— 30 —