Board of Trustees Authorizes Macon Residential-Retail Development, Approves New Degree Programs and Sites, and Elects New Trustees


MACON — The Mercer University Board of Trustees today gave the green light to a mixed-use residential/retail development on the Macon campus, approved three new graduate degree programs, and authorized the University to begin offering degree programs in the Forsyth-North Fulton area of metro Atlanta and in Newnan. The board also elected nine new members to replace those trustees whose terms expire this month.

The $10 million mixed-use development on the University’s Macon campus will feature loft-style apartments and retail space for the Mercer Bookstore and other businesses that cater to the Mercer community and residents in the College Hill Corridor. Called “The Lofts at Mercer Village,” the development will be located on Montpelier Avenue across from Ingleside Village Pizza and Jittery Joe’s Coffee. The first floor will have approximately 13,750 square feet of retail space and the top three floors will house up to 117 students in three- and four-bedroom, loft-style apartments that reflect a sleek, urban design. The building will have an all-brick façade that reflects the traditional architectural elements of the Mercer campus. It has been designed to create a vibrant streetscape, enhancing the recent retail development in Mercer Village, which in addition to Ingleside Village Pizza and Jittery Joe’s Coffee, is home to Francar’s Buffalo Wings, Georgia Public Broadcasting studios, and College Hill Alliance offices.

The University’s arrangement with the developers is similar to the one Mercer made with developers of the Hilton Garden Inn four years ago. The University is providing the land and the developers — Macon-based Sierra Development and Piedmont Construction Group — are putting up the structure and will lease the apartment units and retail space, provide facility maintenance and manage the residential operations. The Lofts at Mercer Village will cater to Mercer’s graduate and professional students, as well as upperclass undergraduate students who do not live in University-operated campus housing.

The Georgia Baptist College of Nursing will begin offering the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree on Mercer’s Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus in Atlanta next fall. The program is expected to eventually enroll 32 students. The College of Nursing this fall enrolled its first cohort of six students in its Ph.D. in Nursing program, which was approved by the board last year.

The College of Continuing and Professional Studies will add two graduate degrees to its curricular offerings, including its first Ph.D. program. Beginning next fall, the College will offer the Education Specialist in School Counseling degree on the Atlanta campus, building on its successful Master’s in School Counseling degree program and initially accommodating up to 30 Ed.S. students.

The Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision — only the second such program in the state of Georgia — will also be offered on the Atlanta campus and is expected to enroll up to 36 students. The University’s other Ph.D. programs include Pharmaceutical Sciences, Educational Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction, and Nursing Education.

A new certificate program in leadership for medical practice workforce development, also to be offered by the College of Continuing and Professional Studies, was approved by the board in addition to the new graduate degrees.

In May the University’s Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics will begin offering a Professional Master of Business Administration degree at Mercer’s new Regional Academic Center in the Forsyth-North Fulton area of metro Atlanta. In August, the College of Continuing and Professional Studies will enroll its first students in the Bachelor of Science in Organization Leadership program and the Tift College of Education will begin offering the Master of Education in Early Childhood Education at the Forsyth-North Fulton Regional Academic Center. A year later – in August 2011 – the Master’s in School Counseling and the Education Specialist degree will be offered at the new center.

New programs that the Tift College of Education will offer in Newnan beginning next fall are bachelor’s degrees and initial certification courses in Early Childhood/Special Education and Early Care and Education. The College of Continuing and Professional Studies will begin offering in the fall of 2010 the Bachelor of Social Science in Public Safety. The College plans to introduce the Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Resources Administration and Development in Newnan in the fall of 2011.

Trustees elected to serve five-year terms include William H. “Billy” Anderson II of Macon; Kellie R. Appel of Atlanta; Thomas B. Bishop, Cartersville; James C. Elder Jr., Columbus; Robert F. Hatcher Sr., Macon; W. Mansfield Jennings, Hawkinsville; David E. Linch, Atlanta; James Thomas McAfee III, Juliette; and Howell L. Watkins II, Miami, Fla. The trustees unanimously re-elected Judge W. Homer Drake of Newnan to another one-year term as chair of the board and Diane Owens of Atlanta to another one-year term as chair of the board’s Executive Committee.

Trustees rotating off the board this month include Cathy Callaway Adams, Atlanta; Thomas B. Black, Columbus; James H. Cowart, Roswell; A.V. Elliott Jr., Macon; Nancy Grace, New York, N.Y., and Atlanta; N. Dudley Horton Jr., Eatonton; Carolyn T. McAfee, Macon; John S. Peyton, Jacksonville, Fla.; and William L. Self, Alpharetta.