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    Balfour Beatty Celebrates Junior Achievement’s New Discovery Center at Georgia Southern University

    February 23, 2021

    SAVANNAH, GA – Balfour Beatty celebrated the start of construction on the Junior Achievement (JA) of Georgia’s new JA Colonial Group Discovery Center at Georgia Southern University’s (GSU) Armstrong Atlantic campus in Savannah, Georgia. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on February 19, 2021, for the new facility that will serve 15,000 middle school students annually and drive economic growth and development to GSU’s campus in the coastal region of the state.
    The occasion celebrated the partnership between JA of Georgia, GSU, the Colonial Group and Balfour Beatty to retrofit the existing GSU Student Recreation Center into a space that will provide students with continued exposure to JA’s innovative financial literacy programs for youth. As lead sponsor of the new facility, Colonial Group will fund $2 million for the renovation and launch of the Discovery Center, which is a part of the facility’s $3.8 million capital campaign.
    “We are so excited to be deepening our impact in the Savannah area and are looking forward to growing our relationship with our partners Georgia Southern University, the Colonial Group and Balfour Beatty,” said Camille Russo, vice president, marketing at JA of Georgia. “We are grateful to the local Savannah community for decades of support and are thrilled to bring this innovative and engaging experience to the students of the region.” 
    Balfour Beatty is serving as general contractor for the project, which will transform of GSU’s existing 25,000-square-foot building into a Discovery Center resembling Savannah’s Forsyth Park, and will feature 18 replicated storefronts surrounding a makeshift green space. As longtime community partners of JA of Georgia, the JA Colonial Group Discovery Center is the second renovation project for Balfour Beatty who recently completed the delivery of the newly remodeled Discovery Center in Atlanta. It is also the latest contract award for the company’s Savannah operations.
    “Our company is grateful for our long-standing relationship with JA of Georgia and honored to be working with community partners to deliver another innovative learning facility that will provide endless opportunities for our youth,” said Ronnie Hall, senior project manager for Balfour Beatty in Savannah. “The new JA Colonial Group Discovery Center at GSU’s Armstrong Atlantic University campus is an important project for our local team members as we continue to grow our Savannah market and bring our notable education expertise to the community. We are excited to start construction on JA of Georgia’s new facility and look forward to continuing our partnership to prepare students for the real world.”
    The JA Colonial Group Discovery Center will provide space for JA of Georgia’s BizTown and Finance Park programs that will teach Chatham, Effingham, Bulloch, Bryan and Liberty county students real world experience in running a business, balancing a budget and applying for a loan. The new facility will also give GSU students abundant opportunities to work, volunteer and/or mentor middle school students who will be visiting the Armstrong campus.
    As Engineering News Record’s (ENR) No. 1 Education Contractor in the Southeast for 2020, Balfour Beatty will leverage its extensive expertise in constructing a broad range of education projects including K-12, higher education, new construction, renovation and additions in growing communities. Team members will also utilize the latest technologies and lean construction methods to safely deliver the new Discovery Center.
    Construction on the JA Colonial Group Discovery Center is set to start in early Summer 2021 and is slated for completion in early 2022.