Wednesday, October 22, 2008

TerraSol Partners with Gwin Oaks Elementary to Expand Environmental Educational Opportunities by Beginning Construction on Outdoor Classroom

On November 15, 2008, parents of students at Gwin Oaks Elementary will be bringing their tools, rolling up their sleeves and continuing the work that Vesmont, LC, developer of the new, eco-friendly lifestyle community TerraSol in Gwinnett County, and Highlight Homes, one of the builders for that subdivision, began on the Gwin Oaks outdoor classroom. Establishing roots in the community by entering into a professional learning partnership with Gwin Oaks Elementary School, Vesmont and Highlight Homes pledged funds and labor to restore the Gwin Oaks Nature Preserve and outdoor classroom.

“We plan to do all of the clearing, grading, paving and other heavy lifting in advance and help to coordinate the efforts of the parents that are going to volunteer to bring this project to fruition,” said Lawrence Kasmen, a principal of Vesmont, LC and Highlight Homes, LLC. “This partnership was a natural fit for our companies, and we are committed to being a vital part of the community here in Gwinnett County. Through our eco-friendly development, TerraSol, we want to promote the value of our environment through education just as Gwin Oaks Elementary’s outdoor classroom will do.”

Gwin Oaks Elementary is one of the schools in the Brookwood Cluster that was approached by Vesmont as a voluntary effort to help enrich the schools in the local area. The scope of this project is to clear away debris from the existing nature trail and then to expand the trail to begin at the new outdoor play area and make it handicap accessible. In addition, the plan calls for a 100 seat outdoor classroom, a 30 seat gathering area, an extension and widening of the existing trail and a picnic area. Parents that volunteer to help will contribute to this effort by planting shrubs and ground cover, building the benches in the outdoor auditorium, clearing away debris such as leaves and sticks, marking the trail by laying down gravel and installing posts connected by ropes, and adding signs to denote the various points of interest along the trail.

“With Vesmont’s and Highlight Homes’ help, we will add a new 100 student outdoor auditorium for outdoor presentations. We look forward to sharing the new and improved Nature Trail with the community,” said parent and volunteer Anna Fallen. “This project will expand the outdoor learning space for our students. We also hope that it will encourage parent and student involvement.”

Vesmont, LC regularly visits the local schools in areas in which they are constructing new subdivisions to see what they can do to improve the learning environment at the schools. The focus of the new Terra Sol subdivision is on sustainable construction and preserving the natural environment so it is fitting that they will be renovating the Gwin Oaks Nature Preserve, which has fallen into disrepair, so that the students can enjoy an enriched outdoor education next to the Yellow River.

TerraSol, a distinctive eco-friendly community developed by Vesmont, LC, is located in Gwinnett County along the scenic Yellow River. The name TerraSol, derived from the Latin terms for “earth” and "sun,” suits this pristine community perfectly as more than 40 percent of the land at TerraSol remains in an untouched, natural state. Residents are given the opportunity to discover natural wonders on a nearly two mile long, all-natural mulch walking trail winding throughout the property and to explore history in a three acre archaeological site, also located within the community. TerraSol will offer 128 single-family homes on generously sized lots priced from the $500,000s.

Consistent with its mission to be an environmentally friendly development company, Vesmont will incorporate sustainable design principles, recycled materials and EarthCraft building methods into the construction of the amenity area and community activity center. Children attend Gwin Oaks Elementary, Five Forks Middle and the highly acclaimed Brookwood High School.

To visit TerraSol, take I-85 North to Indian Trail/Lilburn Exit 101. Turn right onto Indian Trail/Lilburn Road (which becomes Killian Hill Road) and travel approximately 6.6 miles. Turn left onto Five Forks Trickum Road. The entrance to the community will be one mile ahead on the right. For more information on TerraSol, call 678 344-4878 or log on to the Web site at www.terrasolga.com.

Vesmont. Vested in the future. Today. For more information, visit www.vesmont.com
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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gwinnett Tech Opens International Education Center at Gwinnett Place

Gwinnett Technical College has opened the International Education Center at Gwinnett Place Mall, created to prepare residents and businesses alike to prosper and thrive in an increasingly international environment.

The center will host a number of Gwinnett Tech's continuing education classes, including language offerings and workforce training courses that support area businesses and meet the needs of Gwinnett's multilingual population.

Leaders from higher education, business and the international community joined Gwinnett Tech President Sharon Bartels and Carl Swearingen, board chairman of the Technical College System of Georgia, for the center's opening yesterday.

"We live in an increasingly global environment, providing new opportunities and challenges for businesses and residents alike. Our International Education Center was created to provide the progressive education and training that students of all ages will need to be successful in an international world and workplace," Bartels explains.

The International Education Center occupies just over 32,600 square feet on two levels, with 23 classrooms. The center includes testing facilities to support language classes and a Recruitment and Information Center for Gwinnett Tech.

"The International Education Center brings Gwinnett Tech's specialized courses into the heart of the community where they are needed most. Technical colleges play a vital role in the economic development of our community, and we're pleased to contribute positively to the economic growth and vibrancy of the Gwinnett Place area," Bartels says.

A full slate of English as a Second Language (ESL) classes will begin at the center on Oct. 6, with several computer, construction and business training courses also scheduled to start early this fall. A full course schedule for all Gwinnett Tech continuing education classes is available online at www.GwinnettTech.edu/ce.

Also participating in the opening of the International Education Center were Georgia State Senator David Shafer; Louise Radloff, GCPS Board Member; Joe Allen, executive director, Gwinnett Place CID; James Song, vice chairman, Georgian Korean Chamber of Commerce; Demming Bass and Nick Masino, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce; Marty Solomon, Simon Properties; Michael Sullivan, board member, Technical College System of Georgia; Marian Lucia, board chair, Gwinnett Technical College; Charlene Fang, board member, Gwinnett Tech Foundation; and Maria Hall, board member, Gwinnett Tech Foundation.

For more information on course offerings at the International Education Center, call 770-995-9697 or visit online at www.GwinnettTech.edu/ce. The International Education Center is located at 2100 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth, GA, 30096.
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Gwinnett Tech is Now a Microsoft IT Academy

Gwinnett Tech is now a Microsoft IT Academy, a designation that offers a host of benefits to students enrolled in the college's Computer Science programs.

The Microsoft IT Academy provides technology students access to the latest Microsoft products and resources, including free software, e-learning materials, the company's E-Reference Library and Microsoft's developer products.

"We're focused on giving our students the most up-to-date education possible, so our partnership with Microsoft is a major plus for students. Being able to access such a wide variety of Microsoft products, services and educational tools is an amazing resource for a student to have," says Anthony Rojo, division director for Computer Sciences at Gwinnett Tech.

As a member of the Microsoft Developer Academic Alliance, Gwinnett Tech can provide students with free licenses for the latest Microsoft software. Students will also have access to Microsoft's Designer Academic Alliance. This allows students in design-related courses to use the latest Microsoft Express tools.

The college's relationship with Microsoft is also great news for students taking the various Microsoft Certification tests. They will now receive discounted testing fees, and have the Second Shot option, which allows them to re-take a Microsoft Certification test for free if they fail the first attempt.

GTC faculty members will benefit, too, with full access to the E-Reference Library, including 500 full-text technical titles from MS Press.

Gwinnett Tech offers associate of applied science degrees and diplomas in computer programming, computer simulation/game development, networking, information security and Web site design, plus a host of certification options in fields like Cisco CCNA and CCNP, cyber crime and more.

For more information about Gwinnett Tech's Computer Science offerings or other programs, contact 770-962-7580 or visit www.gwinnetttech.edu.
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gwinnett Welcomes Four New Fire Trucks

Four more new fire trucks will soon join the dozen that Gwinnett County bought during the past two years. Commissioners on Tuesday approved a $1.7 million contract, to be paid with SPLOST funds, from North America Fire Equipment Co. Inc., of Decatur, Ala.

Fire stations 2, 10, 14 and 25 are slated to get the four new triple-combination rescue-style pumper trucks that can pump 1,500 gallons of water per minute to douse a fire. During 2008, the County has received 12 similar fire engines ordered previously from the same company. Three of those were for new stations 28, 29 and 30. The other nine went to stations 4, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 20, 22 and 23.

Fire Chief Steve Rolader said, “These purchases not only equip our newest stations, which are also built with SPLOST funds, but they also upgrade and modernize our ability to fight fires from many of our existing stations as well.”
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