BC breaks ground on library expansion

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, October 30, 2012

TURNING DIRT: Joining in the ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony were, left to right, Bainbridge College President Dr. Richard Carvajal, BC Library Director Susan Ralph, BC student Krystal Cato, Regent Doreen Poitevint, State Rep. Gene Maddox, State Rep. Darlene Taylor, State Rep. Jay Powell, Steve DeHekker with Hastings & Chivetta Architects and Bill Weldon with Allstate Construction Company.

Bainbridge College officially broke ground on its new library expansion Tuesday morning, as state representatives and other officials gathered for a ceremony on the east lawn of the campus library.

The existing library covers about 10,000 square feet, and the expansion will eventually increase its size to 24,000 square feet. The Phase 1 addition, which should be completed by the fall 2013 semester, will include expanded stack space for additional library materials, two computer labs, an audio-visual lab, a reference desk, a copy room for student use, and multiple meeting rooms and study areas. Phase 2 of the expansion is slated to be completed sometime in the next five years.

Among the officials who spoke Tuesday were BC President Dr. Richard Carvajal; Doreen Poitevint, the 2nd Congressional District’s Regent on the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia; and State Representatives Gene Maddox (District 172), Jay Powell (District 171) and Darlene Taylor (District 173). Also among the speakers were BC student Krystal Cato, Steve DeHekker with Hastings & Chivetta Architects, and Bill Weldon with Allstate Construction Company.

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“I hope that you are as excited as I am as we watch these changes take place,” said Carvajal, who noted that the library expansion is just the beginning of BC’s comprehensive “master plan,” which includes additional academic buildings, as well as possible dorms and athletic programs.

“This library addition will truly make a significant difference in the quality of the education that our students receive,” he said.

Powell noted that academic institutions play a pivotal role in attracting industry and future business to an area. He said that industrial development is a “three-legged stool” — industries need a trained workforce, they need a proper site for their factories, and they need a vibrant community with amenities like the arts and good schools.

“If you think about it, a library like this satisfies two of those needs,” he said. “It helps improve the education of the future workforce, but it also is a great asset for all citizens. This is more than just a facility for a college, it’s a facility for this community.”

Cato, who served as the student representative on the space use committee that offered feedback as BC worked on its master plan, said that she was excited to be a part of the process.

“When I return, after graduation, to visit, I will be filled with pride that I was a part of the student body that helped influence these changes,” she said.

Carvajal praised the work that has been done by the architect — Hastings & Chivetta, of St. Louis, Mo. — and construction company — Allstate Construction. Those two companies also worked on the recent building projects of the Kirbo Center and Student Wellness Center.

The BC president also stated that he is already excited about the changes that have been implemented at BC, and spoke positively of those changes still to come.

“This is just the first in a series of facility improvements to our campus that we expect to complete in the near future,” he said. “Couple those facility improvements with our recent decision to make our curricular offering even more comprehensive by adding bachelor’s degrees, and it is easy to see why we are quickly becoming the preeminent college of choice for students from throughout southwest Georgia.”