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News Releases

June 23, 2005

Classically Inspired, Contemporary Building Design Creates Collegiate Atmosphere on Coastal Georgia Community College New Satellite Campus

Multipurpose Campus-in-one Building Designed by Lord, Aeck & Sargent Acts as Economic Driver for Kingsland Community

KINGSLAND, Ga., June 23, 2005 – A classically inspired yet contemporary building is serving as the signature structure and gateway to the new Camden Center satellite campus of Coastal Georgia Community College (CGCC). The $14.9 million, 89,000-square-foot facility was designed by Atlanta-based Lord, Aeck & Sargent. The architect of record was John A. Tuten & Associates Architects in Brunswick, Georgia.

Located on a previously undeveloped, 75-acre site adjacent to wetlands, design of the multipurpose, two-story building, called The Camden Center, was intended to create a collegiate atmosphere despite being the only facility on campus, according to Lord, Aeck & Sargent’s Joe Greco, AIA, the project’s principal.

“The project design was driven by the college president’s desire to create the feeling of a campus from the beginning and to provide the surrounding community with a collegiate presence that would distinguish The Camden Center from a nearby high school,” Greco said.

“We responded with a building with a U-shaped floor plan to create a courtyard arrangement with the feel of a college quad.

“To make the building distinctive and create a classic and collegiate presence, we designed a central rotunda with a dome to serve as the focal point for the building and campus. The rotunda, accentuated with a patterned terrazzo floor, serves as the lobby and breakout area for the large auditorium and connects to the main circulatory on both levels. Access to the second floor is through an open, curved winding stair in the rotunda. Vaulted ceilings connect the rotunda to the main circulation spine. The exterior façade features intricate red brick masonry and arches along with cream-colored, cast-stone columns and window trim, exposed copper gutters and downspouts. The dome is clad in copper and punctuated with circular clerestory windows. There are open-air portico entrances to engage the courtyard green space,” Greco said.

Contemporary Defining Touches

While The Camden Center is classically inspired, it is also defined by numerous contemporary design elements. Some of these include:

  • Extensive use of environmentally sensitive, bamboo wainscot in the rotunda – including a bamboo donor wall – and classroom corridors, where it is also used for sitting and bench areas
  • Contemporary pendant and uplight fixtures
  • Two large arched glass windows, one looking onto the courtyard and the other facing the preserved wetlands area behind the campus

Vernacular Solution to Heat, Sun and Hurricanes

To address the problem of heat, sun and occasional hurricanes indigenous to The Camden Center’s location in south Georgia’s “Golden Isles” region, the building features a vernacular solution – top-hinged louvered aluminum storm shutters, sometimes referred to as Bermuda awnings. The shutters serve as a sunscreen when open and can be closed to protect the window openings in the case of a hurricane.

A Multipurpose Building and Economic Driver

According to Tom Saunders, CGCC vice president of business affairs, the community college has a mix of traditional two-year students who go on to four-year academic institutions and students who obtain a technical education for immediate employment.

“We wanted The Camden Center design to accommodate a wide variety of functions for our student mix, with plenty of traditional classroom space for the transfer students and flexible space for technical students,” Saunders said. “Lord, Aeck & Sargent listened to our needs and came back with a creative vision based on our input.

“This is a very modern building with a professional look,” Saunders continued. “The community at large is highly impressed, and the building is acting as an economic driver for Kingsland. The campus started out being in a remote area, but it is quickly being surrounded by residential and commercial development.”

The building is about .25 miles from Camden County High School, making it accessible to students seeking to combine high school and college courses through dual enrollment arrangements for college credit in transfer degree programs and technical programs. The project, according to CGCC president Dr. Dorothy L. Lord, “was a unique partnership including a donor of the land, a city willing to provide infrastructure, and citizens making private contributions for an operating endowment.”

What’s Inside

The Camden Center is a self-sufficient campus-in-one. The single new building houses a wide variety of space including:

  • A library, a 280-seat high-tech auditorium, and a faculty and administrative suite directly off the rotunda
  • A student bookstore 
  • Tiered, multimedia academic classrooms (some straight and some curved)
  • General classrooms fully wired for technology and extensive audio visual function
  • Biology and chemistry labs
  • Vocational teaching and laboratory space for CGCC’s culinary, nursing and allied health, industrial maintenance, computer and information technology, business office technology and drafting programs
  • Plant operations areas

Saunders noted that the Kingsland community does not have many large meeting spaces, and The Camden Center’s tiered-seat auditorium will serve as an assembly area for both students and the community at large. “We’re very pleased,” he said.

The Project Team

In addition to Lord, Aeck & Sargent as design architect and John A. Tuten & Associates as architect of record, the Camden Center project team included:

  • Two State Construction Company (Thomson, Georgia ), general contractor
  • Nottingham, Brook & Pennington (Macon, Georgia) MEP/FP engineer
  • P&A Engineers (Kingsland, Georgia), civil engineer
  • Saussy Engineering (Savannah, Georgia) structural engineer
  • Waveguide Consulting (Atlanta), AV specialist • Camacho Associates (Atlanta), foodservice consultant • The Sea Island Company (St. Simons Island, Georgia), landscape architect

About Lord, Aeck & Sargent

Founded in 1942, Lord, Aeck & Sargent is an award-winning architectural firm serving clients in scientific, academic, historic preservation, arts and cultural, and housing and mixed-use development markets. The firm’s core values are responsive design, technological expertise and exceptional service. Lord, Aeck & Sargent is headquartered in Atlanta and also has offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For more information, visit the firm at