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Chick-fil-A, Inc. and Berry College have a long-standing relationship. In 1984, Chick-fil-A founder and chairman Truett Cathy worked with the college to establish the initial programs of the WinShape Centre Foundation in an effort to "shape winners." The foundation supports the WinShape Centre Scholarship Program; Camp WinShape, a summer camp held at Berry for boys and girls; and WinShape Homes, a long-term foster care program.
Today's ceremony officially launched the construction of two new buildings that were included in the Normandy Complex's original architectural plans but were never built when the buildings were first constructed in the 1930s.
The WinShape Retreat Center will host church, corporate, and marriage enrichment retreats throughout Berry's academic year, as well as WinShape's summer camp for girls when school is not in session.
The two new buildings, which will provide additional lodging for the retreat complex, are part of the initial phase of construction for the WinShape Retreat Center. In addition to these buildings, this section of the new Retreat Center will feature a 78,000-square-foot campus that will include a quadrangle of seven buildings, including a dining hall, reception area and dormitories that also can be converted into bed and breakfast-style bedrooms. Chick-fil-A anticipates completing the first stage of construction in the spring of 2003.
The second development phase will focus on improvements to the Retreat Center grounds and recreational areas, including the construction of a new auditorium and the extension of the pond and hillside that lie adjacent to the Retreat Center. Additionally, a covered equestrian arena at Berry's Gunby Equine Center and a recreational walking/bike path linking the college's main and mountain campuses already have been developed.
The WinShape Retreat Center will retain the architectural style of the original Normandy facility, which previously served as the college's dairy as well as housing for the school's faculty and staff. Resembling buildings found in the French countryside, each spire-topped building features a red- tiled roof over white-painted brick structures.
"Much time and effort are being made to convert the historic Normandy Complex into a top-quality retreat facility, without compromising or disturbing the beauty and architectural features of the original Normandy setting," said Chick-fil-A Senior Vice President Don "Bubba" Cathy, who is spearheading the WinShape Retreat project. "We couldn't ask for a better site for the Retreat Center that we have envisioned. The Normandy grounds provide a natural, scenic setting for a truly unique retreat for a variety of family and business-related functions."
"Berry and Chick-fil-A have enjoyed a longstanding relationship for nearly two decades," said Berry College President Dr. Scott Colley. "Both organizations strongly believe in building programs to develop young people. The WinShape Retreat Center will complement the other initiatives we have in place that promote a positive influence on both young people and adults, and also will be an attractive, park-like setting where visitors can go to strengthen marriages and families, or to hold corporate meetings."
Dr. Colley added that the WinShape Retreat also will have a positive impact on the local community, as it will serve as a much-needed meeting and retreat facility for businesses and organizations in the Atlanta, Birmingham, and Chattanooga triangle. "Floyd County currently does not have a facility that is able to host large groups, and the WinShape Retreat Centre will be the perfect venue to fill this void."
The WinShape Centre Foundation has retained Atlanta-based architectural design firm Surber, Barber, Choate, and Hertlein Architects, Inc. to manage the redevelopment project and has selected Gay Construction Company of Atlanta as the general contractor.