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College needs more housing

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August 22, 2005

Tifton- Interim President Tom Call holds the annual first day of school press conference in front of Abraham Baldwin College's newest construction project, a $7.1 million health sciences building.

"Our nursing program is one of our largest programs, and its grown dramatically over the past few years, and they have totally outgrown their facilities," Call says.

That's not the only facility the college has outgrown.

"We're in desperate need of more housing on this campus," Call says.

ABAC Place opened for students just last year. The 835-bed student housing complex is the largest in the nation for a two-year institution, and features private bedrooms.

"It's more like your own. You get your own privacy, your own room and everything. You cook whatever you want, or anything like that," says freshman Derek Strickland.

"Its awesome. I love ABAC Place. It's great. I thought I'd be in a little room, but no. It's awesome. I love it there," says sophomore Candice Toms.

The $32 million project has become a major reason some students even apply to the college.

"I came from Canada to live in the apartments pretty much, so that's definitely one reason I came here, for sure," says Toms.

Now ABAC has no rooms to spare.

"Our lack of housing has limited our enrollment. We've heard a lot of students tell us I love ABAC Place, and I can't get a room there," Call says.

Additional housing is already a part of the school's 20-year master plan, and Call predicts ABAC will need at least 500 more beds.

"We would like to be in a position to start construction by this time next year," he says.

But until then, students who wish to go to ABAC will have to be one of the first to submit their housing applications or look for somewhere to live off campus.

Though this is the first day of school, ABAC officials say they are already encouraging students to complete and submit housing applications for next year.

Additional housing isn't the only thing ABAC students will have to wait for. The college still doesn't have a permanent president.

Tom Call took over as interim president in September of last year after Mike Vollmer announced he was taking a job as the Commissioner of the Department of Technical and Adult Education.

But a search committee has to be appointed by the University System chancellor, and Thomas Meredith stepped down from that position last month.

"The board of regents has a plan to have a new chancellor identified by January 1st, and it look likes our search will be beginning after that time. Sometime in January the search for a new president at ABAC will be getting cranked up," says Tom Call.

Call says accepting the interim position makes him ineligible to apply for the presidential position. He is expecting to return to his position as Vice-President for Student and Enrollment Services full time once a new president has been hired.

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