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College of Environment and Design

BLA Site Designs + Athens Hospitality

Undergraduate designs contribute to local hospitality projects

Excited about developments on the new Classic Center Arena in downtown Athens? Well, you may not have known, but design students in the CED’s own undergraduate landscape architecture program helped pave the way with initial design concepts.  Students were fortunate enough get this momentous opportunity through the collaboration of the CED and the Classic Center. Donnie Longenecker’s CED studios have been working on projects such as this for many years. 

Recently, Longenecker was asked to be a part of the UGA HOST Research Initiative.  The UGA Host Research Initiative aims to support Georgia’s hospitality and tourism sector, helping to enrich community and public engagement efforts.  Governor Brian Kemp recently praised the work of the HOST initiative as a strategic way of allocating UGA and GA resources to help develop the GA hospitality and tourism economy. 

In May of 2022, at the GA Hospitality and Tourism Summit, Donnie Longenecker shared some of his CED studio projects that helped promote and advance Georgia’s Hospitality and Tourism Economy.  Students in the design studios have been working on plans for hospitality and tourism related projects across Georgia. Projects presented included downtown redevelopment for Crawfordville, Georgia, a trail master plan for Taliaferro County, a new park in Chattahoochee hills, and the Classic Center Arena.  Students in these studios conduct precedent research, obtain community feedback on design concepts and generate 3D computer models to help the clients visualize the finished project. Clients get access to the creativity of bright young minds and students get the opportunity to work on real projects. Getting to work on a site that has the potential to actually be built is a sought-after opportunity that does not come around every day for students.

This work does not stop here, as a new fall semester starts, so does a new course. Students now have the opportunity to take a Land Design + Development course at the CED. Donnie Longenecker envisions this course as the first class in an interdisciplinary Land Design + Development certificate, so students across UGA can get opportunities to work on similar projects and create tangible change in communities across Georgia.

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