MARIETTA — Cobb residents will soon have another option for higher education.
Officials from Chattanooga-based Richmont Graduate University, which offers master’s degrees in counseling and ministry fields, recently announced they will relocate their Atlanta campus to Cobb County. The university closed a deal to purchase building 100 in The Exchange office park off Windy Hill Road near Interstate 285. Richmont’s Atlanta campus is currently located off Northside Parkway just outside Cobb, near the Lovett School.
“We moved just three of four miles down the road because we were needing additional space, and this was a reasonable property,” said Bob Rogers, president of Richmont Graduate University. “It’s an ideal location. We’re thrilled to death to be in a part of Cobb County that we’ve been involved in for years.”
District 2 Commissioner Bob Ott said he believes institutes of higher learning are drawn to the area because Cobb County makes education a priority, as evidenced by the consolidation of Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University and now the addition of Richmont.
“It shows that they feel like Cobb offers the environment that is beneficial to their students, their faculty and school name,” Ott said. “I think having all these universities here — and Dobbins and Lockheed and all that — it just kind of points to a good mixture of jobs and technical skills and a community that emphasizes education.”
Richmont was formed in 2000 when the Chattanooga Bible Institute merged with the Psychological Studies Institute. It has about 300 students working toward master’s degrees in professional counseling, marriage and family therapy, ministry and psychological studies.
“We’re a Christ-centered university that advances God’s work of healing, restoration and transformation in the lives of individual churches and the community,” Rogers said.
Richmont graduates about 60 new counselors each year, Rogers said. The school’s network of Hope Counseling centers — with nearby locations in Marietta, Austell and Dallas — offer more than 24,000 counseling sessions yearly.
“Our counselors and therapists serve in behavioral health centers, homeless shelters, addiction rehabilitation facilities, churches and other community-based programs that care for uninsured and underinsured individuals and families,” Rogers said.
The newly purchased building, which is about 3,800 square feet larger than the Atlanta campus, was purchased for $1.2 million; the university was able to purchase the building outright using donations and institutional funds, Rogers said.
The university has not specified when they expect the Cobb campus to be open, and Rogers said the building — formerly a Piedmont Hospital Sleep Center — will require 80 percent of the interior to be renovated before classes can begin.
Rogers said the university plans to move its national headquarters from Chattanooga to the new campus in Cobb after it opens.
According to Rogers, Richmont employs about 53 full-time staff members, 4 part-time staff members and 62 additional faculty members. In addition to expanding their facilities, Rogers said the university is looking to hire two to three more faculty members.
“We’ve got one of the most premier faculties,” Rogers said. “It’s the single most distinguished thing about the university.”
The faculty provides more than 10,000 hours of counseling services each year and has collectively published more than 200 books and several thousand professional presentations and scholarly publications, said Rogers.
The average age of the students at Richmont is about 33, Rogers said, and the university offers daytime classes, evening courses and weekend intensive sessions. Richmont’s degree programs are designed so students graduate can graduate in two years.
“We are designed to be a commuter campus,” Rogers said.
For more information, visit richmont.edu.