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UGA students tackle Dawson industrial site development
uga students
Brooke Anderson, General Manager, Etowah Water & Sewer Authority, reviews existing infrastructure with Dr. Stephan Durham while students make project notes. - photo by For the Dawson County News

A partnership with the University of Georgia and the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce will bring a valuable study to potential developers of industrial sites in Dawson County.

Dawson County was recently selected as a site location for UGA’s College of Engineering Capstone Senior Project Design.

Three students of UGA’s College of Engineering visited several industrial sites on Friday, Sept. 27, along with Etowah Water and Sewer General Manager Brooke Anderson and the Dawson County Chamber’s Economic Development Director Betsy McGriff to assess the properties. Over the next two semesters, the students will evaluate the potential industrial park sites in Dawson County to assess for the feasibility of grading, utility infrastructure location, site ingress and egress and building siting.

“We are excited to see fresh and creative ideas from this group,” McGriff said. “I have worked with the College of Engineering in the past and have always been impressed with the quality of the designs and the out-of-the-box thinking the students provide.  Dawson County was very fortunate to be chosen as a project site and I look forward to seeing the outcomes in 2020.”

Anderson said he agrees it is an exciting opportunity for the community and future industrial projects. 

“The collaboration between UGA, the Chamber, and Development Authority is an absolute win-win,” Anderson said.  “This project provides engineering students real world experience while providing the Chamber and Development Authority real solutions to economic development in Dawson County.”

The partnership between Dawson County and the UGA College of Engineering allows real-world opportunities for the students as well as providing valuable insight to Dawson County economic development staff. This type of practice is exactly what Dr. Stephan Durham, Assistant Dean for Student Success and Outreach and Professor of Civil Engineering, says set UGA’s program apart. 

“Our goal is to produce graduates that not only have the technical skills to be successful engineers, but also the ability to develop practical and creative solutions in a multi-disciplinary environment,” Durham said. “The capstone design presents students with the opportunity for real world interaction with clients and a team-based approach, closely resembling what they will face in the workplace.”

The students will present initial findings in December to the Development Authority of Dawson County, refine their designs and submit a final concept in April of 2020.