ATLANTA - The University of Georgia’s new master’s program in film, television and digital media soon will have its own digs.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved a plan Wednesday to renovate more than 5,800 square feet of space at UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications to house the two-year master of fine arts program the school launched last year.

The $3.75 million project, to be funded through private donations, will provide studio and support space for the master’s program. The renovation will be designed, constructed and outfitted in collaboration with the Georgia Film Academy (GFA), which the state created and financed to train Georgians in the skills needed to work in the fast-growing film industry.

The renovation project will house students during the first year of the master’s program. During the second year, they will move to Pinewood Studios in Fayetteville to work with instructors from the GFA, located across the street from the studios.

The primary feature of the project will be an instructional film production stage, with flexible seating to allow for various types of presentations, an overhead retractable lighting system, a green screen and post-production suites.

In other business Wednesday, Jim James, the university system’s vice chancellor for real estate and facilities, informed board members of system Chancellor Steve Wrigley’s decision last month to rank three Atlanta-based architectural firms to design a new $49.9 million dormitory for first-year students at UGA.

The top-ranked firm is Beck Architecture Georgia LLC, followed by Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates Inc. and Collins Cooper Carusi Architects Inc.

If the university system’s real estate staff is unable to negotiate a contract with the top-ranked firm, it would then move to the second-ranked architect.

The 120,500-square-foot building will house 525 students. The project will be paid for through a combination of public-private venture financing and UGA housing funds.

As chancellor, Wrigley has the authority to make such decisions during months when the Board of Regents does not meet.

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