Boards vote in favor of SRTC acquisitions at BSC

Published 5:22 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Two boards approved resolutions that will lead to Southern Regional Technical College in Thomasville acquiring land, facilities and capital equipment at Bainbridge State College.

Last Thursday, the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia approved their portion of the resolutions, and on Monday the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved theirs.

This acquisition is part of the planning process for the consolidation of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and BSC. Southern Regional Technical College will offer technical and adult education programs on the Bainbridge Campus and ABAC will offer academic programs on the Bainbridge Campus.

The Board of Regents retiring the debt of roughly $20 million on BSC’s Student Wellness Center was a major component of the deal for SRTC to acquire the college’s property and assets. Students currently pay $225 toward retiring that debt. According to interim president Stuart Rayfield, this will be a huge benefit to students and their wallets as they will no longer be required to pay that student fee.

“The most important opportunity this consolidation with ABAC and acquisition of technical programs by SRTC will create is the chance for each institution to focus its mission,” said BSC interim president Dr. Stuart Rayfield. “ABAC will be able to able focus on pre-baccalaureate and baccalaureate programs related to workforce needs, while SRTC will be able to focus on the delivery of technical programs that meet the workforce needs of our region.”

The ABAC consolidation and SRTC acquisitions will lead to some current BSC employees moving to SRTC and some to ABAC. Rayfield said she was working with both institutions to establish their staffing needs, which she hopes will be worked out over the next few weeks.

All BSC employees will become ABAC employees on Jan. 1, 2018, pending SACSCOC and Board of Regents approval.

Starting Jan. 1, the name Bainbridge State College will be dropped. However, a decision on the name for the ABAC institution on campus has not been made, and according to Rayfield, ABAC president Dr. David Bridges says “Bainbridge” will be a significant part of the campus name moving forward.

“While I have not had any conversations yet with Dr. Craig Wentworth of SRTC, I feel confident he will also want to respect the history and impact of Bainbridge State College through the years,” Rayfield added.

The proposed change will not affect the ownership of land, facilities and capital equipment in Donalsonville or Blakely.

“I wanted to add my voice of support to this resolution I think that what is being proposed in this resolution will directly benefit students by enhancing affordability while also providing ABAC the ability to offer both their current academic degree programs and additional programs that will benefit our community and the region,” said Regent Doreen Poitevint. “I am very pleased to note that ABAC has brought several degree programs forward for approval and intend to offer the first couple years of those bachelor’s programs at the campus in Bainbridge. These types of efforts demonstrate the USG’s commitment to the region and I am very glad to support this resolution and our continued good work.”