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Carvajal: BC’s future could include dorms, sports

Bainbridge College president Dr. Richard Carvajal told the Bainbridge Rotary Club on Tuesday that the college’s future could include additional academic buildings, new roads and possibly even dormitories and athletic facilities.

Carvajal said the college is almost finished developing its “master plan,” which will project how the campus might look in the next 10-20 years. He explained that colleges have to constantly look into the future, in the face of improving technology and increasing enrollment.

“This plan includes where we think we need to build new buildings, as well as how to renovate the buildings that we already have,” he said. “It talks about our grounds, and our roads and our walkways. It literally goes into so much detail I can tell you just about where every sewer line is going to be located in 20 years.”

Carvajal said the plan was designed with the assistance of architectural firm Hastings and Chivetta of St. Louis, Mo., who designed the recently opened Student Wellness Center.

“We have a good relationship with them, and they do this kind of work all over the country,” he said.

The focal point of the master plan is a future 80,000-square-foot academic building, which would increase classroom space and also allow for additional administrative offices. Carvajal said the state would have to approve approximately $25 million in funding for such a building, but he believes that Bainbridge College has a good chance of eventually getting that funding.

“The university system did an assessment in 2010 to determine which institutions had the greatest need, in terms of space,” Carvajal said. “Bainbridge College was ranked No. 1 in the state as far as having the greatest need for additional space. So we feel like we have a great case to make, and we’re going to keep making it. I know that our local legislators are very much in favor of it, as well.”

The master plan also leaves open the possibility of a 400-bed dormitory building, which would be located to the south of the Wellness Center and the 400 building. Further south, there is space allocated for additional athletic fields — a baseball field, soccer field, multipurpose field, and also any facilities required for athletics, such as coaches’ offices.

However, Carvajal noted that the plan is only determining where such facilities might be built, and does not necessarily guarantee anything.

“What I don’t want to do is have you go out and say, ‘Hey, I went to lunch today and the president said we’re absolutely going to build residence halls and we’re absolutely going to have athletics,’ because that’s not what I’m telling you,” Carvajal told the club members. “But because we were getting this question so often, we knew it was at least a possibility. As part of this planning effort, we needed to think about the location of those spaces, if we did them.”

Other aspects of the master plan include expanding the size of the existing library building, and building a new road that would encircle more of the campus. The existing road, which effectively cuts the campus in half between the Wellness Center and the 400 and 600 buildings, would be closed and allow a more unified greenspace.

“Some of these projects we can do in the short term with existing funding sources,” Carvajal said. “Just this morning, we started putting the planning efforts in place for what the new library might look like, and we feel we could do that part of it fairly quickly.”

Carvajal also noted that a dormitory building could be funded by a future fee for students’ room and board, similar to how the Wellness Center is partially paid for by student activity fees. Existing parking fees could also quickly fund projects to improve the campus’s roads and parking lots.

He said that the college hopes to have its master plan completely finalized by the end of the year, and asked for the public’s input on what Bainbridge College should change or improve.

“I’d love to hear that you like certain parts of the plan, but I’d also love to hear that you don’t like parts of it, and what you think we might need to change,” he said.

Those who wish to leave their feedback can contact Carvajal’s office at (229) 248-2510 or e-mail him at richard.carvajal@bainbridge.edu.