Balfour Beatty to build a business school for kids in Savannah, Georgia

Balfour Beatty has begun retrofitting a building at Georgia Southern University (GSU) in Savannah, Georgia to create a place for middle school pupils to learn about business, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.

The planned JA Colonial Group Discovery Center at GSU’s Armstrong Atlantic campus will teach entrepreneurial skills to 15,000 pupils a year.

A project of educational organisation Junior Achievement (JA) of Georgia and local sponsoring company, Colonial Group, Inc., it sees Balfour Beatty retrofitting a former, 25,000-sq-ft college student recreation building.

Ceremonial groundbreaking took place on 19 February and completion is slated for early 2022.

As lead sponsor of the new facility, Colonial Group will fund $2m for the renovation and launch of the center, which is a part of the facility’s $3.8m capital campaign.

Featuring 18 replicated storefronts around a green space, the JA Colonial Group Discovery Center will host JA of Georgia’s BizTown and Finance Park programmes that give Sixth Graders experience running a business, balancing a budget and applying for a loan.

GSU students will also get opportunities to work or volunteer at the center and mentor pupils.

It will be the fifth JA of Georgia discovery center in the state. Balfour Beatty recently finished remodelling one in Atlanta. 

"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." 

"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.

Image: Render of the planned JA Colonial Group Discovery Center at Georgia Southern University in Savannah (Courtesy of architects RJTR of Atlanta)

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