Bainbridge College could change name next week

Published 11:44 am Friday, February 8, 2013

By the end of next week, Bainbridge College may be known by a different name.

Dr. Richard Carvajal, the president of Bainbridge College, told members of the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday morning that the institution may officially change its name to “Bainbridge State College” next week. Carvajal made the announcement during Thursday’s monthly chamber breakfast, which was hosted at the Kirbo Center on the BC campus.

Carvajal said that the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) will meet Wednesday, Feb. 13, and vote on whether to grant “state college” status to BC. This change in designation will enable the college to offer baccalaureate, or four-year, degrees. Carvajal said the most likely program that would be offered is a bachelor’s degree of business administration in management.

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If the Board of Regents grants state college status to BC, it will also allow the institution to change its name to Bainbridge State College, to better reflect the change in its mission. In recent months, the public was invited to vote online and post their feedback about what the possible name change should be. Carvajal said Thursday that “Bainbridge State College” was by far the most popular choice, selected by at least two-thirds of correspondents.

“I hope that’s exciting news for you, and it’s certainly exciting for all of us as we build this institution for the next 40 years,” said Carvajal, who also noted that BC is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Carvajal said that BC hopes to be able to offer the new baccalaureate program in the fall 2013 semester.

Carvajal also talked about the past, present, and future of BC. He noted that the institution began in 1973 as Bainbridge Junior College, with an initial class of 217 students and an initial investment of a $2 million bond issue for construction of the original buildings. Carvajal then stated that the USG estimates that BC is responsible for an “economic impact” of more than $71 million to southwest Georgia each year.

“The founders of this institution made a bet, if you will, that that initial investment would be a wise one in the long term,” he said. “They bet that it would be returned many times over to this community, and that has turned out to be absolutely true.”

When discussing the present news at BC, Carvajal pointed out the current expansion under way at the BC library. Phase one of the project is under way, and when both phases are completed it will more than double the space of the existing library.

He also said the campus is extremely excited to be celebrating its 40th anniversary, and there will be multiple events throughout the year to commemorate the milestone.

Looking ahead to the future of BC, Carvajal said the college is still actively seeking legislative approval for two major construction projects. The first is a $3 million expansion of 10,000 to 12,000 square feet of classroom and office space, at an existing campus building. The second project is an all-new $17 million “academic building” that could meet several important needs on campus.

“It would give us all new science labs on campus, and great space for our nursing programs,” he said. “Both of these projects are critically important, not just for the institution, but for the entire region.”

Other possible future additions at the college could include student lodging and athletic programs, Carvajal said.

“From the beginning, this institution was set up to service the workforce and educational needs of this community and this region,” he said. “I think we’ve done a great job of that for 40 years, and we will do an even better job in the next 40 years and beyond. We will make sure that you are proud of this college.”