Bainbridge State College broke new ground Monday

Bainbridge State College broke new ground Monday

DONALSONVILLE, GA (WALB) - It's been nearly four years since a massive fire swept through Downtown Donalsonville destroying businesses.

Bainbridge State College broke ground on a new location at the site of that fire Monday afternoon.

That fire destroyed half a city block in the heart of Donalsonville.

That vacant lot is about to be turned into an education center leaders say will transform the area.

This was the sight in Downtown Donalsonville on April 5, 2011, when a lightning strike sparked a fire that destroyed nine businesses.

Tuesday, Bainbridge State College broke ground on a new campus in that spot.

" So not only is it great to have Bainbridge College come into town with this great facility but it's a replacing something that was kind of a scar right in the middle of downtown," said Dan Ponder, Mayor of Donalsonville

The 6500 square foot facility will offer entry level courses for students working on two year degrees.

"We currently already attract 50 plus percent of the high school here in Seminole County so we only know that will get better," said Shawn McGee, Bainbridge State College Interim Executive, Vice President

They'll use state of the art equipment to connect with professors at the main campus.

"By delivering it as a course that originates in Bainbridge it can also be simulcast here and students here wouldn't have to come to all the way to Bainbridge to attend it and that helps with their transportation issues," said Shawn McGee.

The four lab facility will be able to hold more than 90 students, and will have one full time on-site staff member.

"Two of them are general classroom labs, and the other two are computer labs. There's also a community meeting room and kitchen for catering," said Joe Donofor, Architect.

The facility is conveniently located off US Hwy 84 where officials believe it could help attract more industries to the area.

"We hope this will attract people to Downtown at different ages and different times of the day," said Mayor Ponder.

The community fully supports the $1 million dollar project.

"Private donations are funding it. So we're just excited that the community stepped up and wanted us to be a part of their community," said Shawn McGee.

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