State funding needed to complete ABAC renovation project - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

State funding needed to complete ABAC renovation project

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email 

TIFTON, GA (WALB) –Tuesday the House Appropriations Committee approved a spending plan which includes money for colleges in our area one of which is Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

ABAC would get 4.75-million dollars for a key renovation project, but that's just half of what they need to re-open the front of campus.

ABAC has three key buildings that make up the front entrance of campus. They have already received funding needed to complete one of those buildings but until all the buildings are complete the front cannot re-open.

When you first pull up to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College this is what you see.

"Its the pardon our mess story you often see on construction sites," said President David Bridges.

And not only is it confusing,

"All of our guests arrive from this direction but it is not apparent how to get into campus because the whole front of campus is fenced off," said Bridges.

But its not very inviting.

"This is the front of campus, so we have got to get this re-opened," said Bridges.

For years, administrators have been working on getting the front part of campus re-opened.

"Two of these buildings have been closed for more than 20 years and Tift hall we closed two and a half years ago," said Bridges.

The first rounds of funds came two years ago, which should help finish one of the buildings.

"We think we have sufficient funds to finish Tift hall and do the infrastructure work for the other buildings," said Bridges.

But in order to complete the other two, more money is needed.

"We requested in this years budget an additional 9 million dollars to finish the project to do Herring and Lewis Halls which are on the other sides of Tift and finish the front lawn," said Bridges.

Yesterday, the house appropriations committee approved 4.75 million dollars towards the project.

"Ordinarily I wouldn't be very happy if we just got half of what we needed to finish a project," said Bridges.

But President David Bridges understands, this is an unusual situation due to the states revenue problem.

"I told legislators yesterday, we are ticked to be in the recommendation," said Bridges.

Administrators say at this point those funds would help keep life in the project, until more funding is available.

But until, the other two buildings are finished, the front will not be able to re-open.

Once complete Tift hall will be used for a Welcome Center, and some key administrative offices, Herring Hall will be used for admissions and financial aid, and Lewis Hall will be used to home art and communications programs.

Lawmakers likely will make changes to the budget before it passes the House and Senate.

ABAC administrators say they're working closely with lawmakers to try to protect the money.

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