BC experiencing growth spurt

Published 6:50 pm Friday, October 17, 2008

Bainbridge College is an active and growing place, two officials shared with the Kiwanis Club at its Thursday meeting.

The grand opening and dedication of the Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center at BC will take place on Sunday, Oct. 26, said the center’s director, Vanessa Arthur. Arthur took on her duties as the Kirbo Center’s director in September. She previously worked 14 years with the Chamber of Commerce.

Among numerous amenities, the center features a 508-seat auditorium, full catering kitchen and a large dining room that can accommodate 300 people. Both the auditorium and dining room have large projection screens. An all-glass solarium that can seat 70 makes an ideal place for a reception, rehearsal party or other small social event, Arthur said.

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Other Kirbo Center events include a performance of Swamp Gravy on Oct. 21, Russian Balalaika on Oct. 24 and the Georgia Literary Festival, Oct. 25.

President remarks on future plans

Bainbridge College has 3,014 students enrolled for Fall 2008, with 762 of those taking classes at the Blakely campus.

That record enrollment is expected to continue, with the total number of students expected to reach 3,700 by Fall 2010.

Construction of a gymnasium and new student center are near the top of BC officials’ wish list. Wilkerson said he envisions the gym being an 80,000-square-foot athletic facility with seating for 3,500 people. That size would make it perfect for having spring graduation on campus, he said.

However, along with growth and its accompanying plans for the future comes the reality that Bainbridge College has limited land space, Dr. Wilkerson said. While the athletic facility may be placed where tennis courts currently exist, space for educational buildings will have to be addressed.

The 30,000-square-foot Blakely campus has also grown since it became part of Bainbridge College in 2006. Most of the students attending there are non-traditional ones who take evening classes. To help accommodate demand, BC leaders plan to build a 10,000-square-foot addition to the campus and improve parking, Wilkerson said.

Gov. Sonny Perdue’s mandate for state government units to cut their budgets by 6 percent represents about $600,000 for Bainbridge College. However, BC was prepared for smaller cuts because it already saved about 5 percent of its state funding to limit exposure in tough financial times. Wilkerson said he was concerned about the possibility Perdue could order cuts of 8 to 10 percent within the next year.

Brennan Leathers can be reached by e-mail at brennan.leathers@thepostsearchlight.com, or by telephone at (229) 246-2827, Ext. 115.