The University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents approved a $4.4 million renovation of the Spring Street Building located in downtown Athens on Sept. 10. The new space will support entrepreneurship, experiential learning and industry engagement.
This announcement comes a year after President Jere Morehead created a 16-person team to research the initial strategy for the university’s “Innovation District” initiative, according to a UGA news release.
The new Spring Street Building will serve as the next development of the initiative, which began with the Studio 225 project on West Broad Street. The Innovation District is designed to enhance the university’s economic impact while expanding the state’s ability to compete in the “knowledge-based economy,” according to the Board of Regents.
The building, a warehouse built in the 1940s, is located at the corners of South Street and Spring Street.
“This exciting project will provide a unique space [...] where faculty, students, industry partners and community members can collaborate, innovate and develop solutions to real-world problems,” Morehead said in the release.
According to UGA Today, a AUTM survey from 2018 ranked the university first among 193 U.S. universities in number of commercial products reaching the market. The same survey ranked Georgia fourth in the number of new intellectual property licenses executed to industry.
The project will be funded predominantly by institutional funds, but $1.3 million of the $4.4 million total will come from donor funds. When completed the building will serve as a space tailored to fostering entrepreneurship. The space will total nearly 10,980 square feet, with a new roof, skylights, masonry repointing and parking with an accessible route through a new plaza.