Learning center

Proposal for a new learning center on the school’s old Albany campus is denied

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) — A proposal to turn a former school in Albany into a learning community was rejected Tuesday.

Phoebe and Albany Technical College proposed to turn the old Albany college into a center of living and learning. The goal was to “significantly expand the pool of new graduate nurses in the region,” Phoebe officials said.

The Albany Dougherty Historic Preservation Commission rejected the proposal in a 4-3 vote. The commission found that the old college at Albany could be better preserved and renovated.

Scott Steiner is the President and CEO of Phoebe Putney Health System.(WALB)

Phoebe President and CEO Scott Steiner said he felt their plans for the project combined the past and the future. Steiner said the project would have retained the building’s original entrance and appearance.

“It was almost double to renovate the current high school as it is at 47,000 square feet. For what we’re going to be able to build 117,000 square feet at $40 million,” Steiner said.

Steiner said the need for nurses is more urgent than ever. Transforming the building would meet this need.

Currently, Phoebe Putney Health System needs about 300 nurses.

Although Phoebe would cover the $40 million price tag, Albany Technical College would help with the teaching. The technical college would also move four of its programs there.

Albany Tech Acting President Dr. Emmet Griswald said it was one of the key projects of the...
Albany Tech Acting President Dr. Emmet Griswald said it was one of former Albany Tech President Dr. Anthony Parker’s top projects.(WALB)

Albany Tech acting president Dr. Emmet Griswald said it was one of the late Dr. Anthony Parker’s projects.

“We want to do this not only in honor of her, but also to help the community produce confident and productive nursing workers,” he said.

After the preservation committee denied Phoebe’s demolition requests, Steiner had a question.

“What’s going on at school? We’ve had it for several years now. We haven’t been approached by one person who said, “We have a great idea for this property, let me tell you about it,” Steiner said.

Just over a dozen people showed up to support the project. A few women connected to the school gave their opinion.

“I don’t understand the historical value of gates and halls and everything you decided has historical values, but I do know the value of education,” one said.

“By denying it, I feel like we’re denying each other because everyone in this room is going to need a Phoebe one way or another,” another said.

Although Angela Gibson voted in favor of the project, she explained why a vote like this can be difficult.

“We are all about progress and education. History is not just about doors and windows, it is history. We just want to capture and hold the stories,” Gibson said.

Steiner said they would appeal the decision and take the project to the Albany City Commission.

The municipal commission can then either accept the decision or cancel it.

What was in the proposed community center of learning and living?

The proposal was to include new construction in “the same footprint as the old school, directly across from Phoebe’s main hospital,” Phoebe officials said.

Albany Top

Here’s what Phoebe, Albany Tech
what a community of learning and living would look like.

The project will include new construction in the “same footprint as the old school, directly across from Phoebe’s main hospital,” Phoebe officials said.

  • The first floor will be 47,000 square feet. This will be the home of Albany Tech’s nursing program. Telehealth-enhanced classrooms, a health careers education center, meeting rooms, a library/resource center and other amenities will also be on the first floor.
  • The second and third floors will include 80 apartments. This will be to provide affordable housing for students.

Here are renderings of what the proposed community would look like:

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