YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – On Oct. 23, Young Harris College held a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony to mark the official opening of the $41 million, 121,000-square-foot Rollins Campus Center. Members of the Rollins family were on-site to cut the ceremonial ribbon.
“This is a historic day for the College,” said YHC President Cathy Cox. “The Rollins Campus Center would never havecome to fruition without the generosity of so many that believed in the College and what we are trying to achieve for our students. We offer heartfelt thanks to the Rollins family for their generous lead support in making this facility possible.”
Designed to catapult the student experience into the 21st century, the facility houses four distinct areas: a 60,000-square-foot, multi-purpose student center; the state-of-the-art Zell and Shirley Miller Library; an expanded Grace Rollins Dining Hall; and a 350-seat, versatile Charles Edwin Suber Banquet Hall.
“The Rollins Campus Center is the perfect example of the positive change happening to our campus,” said sophomore business and public policy major and Student Government Association President Espen Myklebust of Asker, Norway. “The spirit of the building is created by students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the community. Our presence truly shapes its potential.”
In April 2013, YHC broke ground on the Rollins Campus Center—the centerpiece of the College’s master plan and the focal point of the Investing in the Future Capital Campaign. In March 2012, the College announced a $22 million gift from the Atlanta-based O. Wayne Rollins Foundation that served as the lead gift for this new facility.
“It brings me great joy to hear the Rollins Campus Center be called the heart of campus,” said YHC Trustee and Capital Campaign Chair Pam Rollins, whose grandfather, O. Wayne Rollins, made significant impacts on the College and its students over the course of his life. “On behalf of my family, we are proud to be part of this transformation and growth at YHC.”
A second ceremony was held to dedicate the 40,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Zell and Shirley Miller Library. U.S. Senator and Georgia Governor Zell Miller, ’51, his remarkable wife, Shirley, ’54, and several members of their family cut the ceremonial ribbon outside of the new library.
“I hope everyone understands just how much this library means to me,” said Gov. Miller, who reflected on his rich connections to the YHC campus. “I walked through it yesterday and could not believe it.”
The library more than doubles the College's previous physical space, utilizing three floors of the center for group study rooms, reading carrels, computer stations, and areas for permanent and special collections. It features a prominently displayed, permanent exhibit that showcases the Millers' inspiring story, including their legacy of public service to the state of Georgia and the nation. It is a fitting tribute to the couple, who met as students at YHC.
“Much of the foundation of myself and Zell was formed here, as a result of our time on this campus,” said Mrs. Miller. “I pray current and future students will be richly blessed by their time in this building and at YHC. We are always at home when we are on this campus, and we enjoy living in this wonderful community.”
During each ceremony, President Cox acknowledged representatives from the building’s general contractor, Atlanta-based Choate Construction Company, as well as project manager Brailsford & Dunlavey, of Washington, D.C., and architect VMDO, of Charlottesville, Va.
In addition to the Zell and Shirley Miller Library, the Rollins Campus Center features the new Grace Rollins Dining Hall with healthy, customized made-to-order meals plus grab-and-go options. The 500-plus seat space includes multiple platform grills, a salad station and dessert bar.
The Charles Edwin Suber Banquet Hall provides an elegant, spacious venue for group gatherings, guest lectures, workshops and receptions. Featuring a sound system, retractable screen and portable stage, this multipurpose space will be available to the surrounding community for rental.
Additional highlights of the facility include space for student activities and services in the third-floor Mary Ripley Warren Student Organization Loft, a multimedia theatre with stadium seating, a Chick-fil-A Express, a Starbucks coffee shop, and a game room with a pool table, foosball table, big-screen televisions, and gaming consoles.
The glass, brick, and stone facility has been designed to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly. The building boasts many sustainable features, including the use of geothermal wells, and is expected to earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
The center optimizes the surrounding mountain views and maximizes outdoor space with numerous expansive porches that create a relaxing space for students to socialize and study.
For more information about the Rollins Campus Center, visit yhc.edu/rcc.