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Rotary hears more about BSC consolidation plans

Dr. David Bridges, President of ABAC, came to Bainbridge Rotary Tuesday to get acquainted and to help dispel any rumors that may be untrue or misleading about the consolidation of Bainbridge College with ABAC and Southern Regional Technical College.

He began by saying that he had no inkling the consolidation was in the works until 8 a.m. December 23, 2016. He was at his farm on Christmas vacation when he received a phone call from the Chancellor.

Since that time he has worked diligently to make the arrangement work. He said he committed two things to the Chancellor. One, he would never do anything to devalue the worth of an ABAC diploma, and two, without going into any details, he will endeavor to improve opportunities for students to obtain a college education in Bainbridge.

He recognized that this community has had a major loss of manufacturing jobs over the last 25 years, and in order to recover, he says it will be necessary to have the trained workforce that industry demands.

After the past 10 months, he said, “The General Assembly and the Governor willing,

come July the principal facility in Bainbridge will be turned over to the Southern Regional Technical College.

“This community needs a strong technical education system to develop a strong economic development climate.”

Bridges said he commits “We will do it well, or we won’t do it, “

He further explained that short term the first two years of college will remain, as will the four-year business program, while promising other ideas he is not now at liberty to talk about. But, there will be programs that will encourage students to stay at Bainbridge and go to college. There will be technical programs developed to make sure the community gets a workforce with the technical training needed.

How will that be done? Bainbridge College now has a good and capable faculty and they will be easing into the changed programs. He has tagged Michael Kirkland to be the leader on the Bainbridge campus, “and he will do what is right.” promises Bridges.

“We will never lower the academic bar. We will do what is right for the students.”

He further pledged that as they work through the rest of the consolidation process they will not rob Bainbridge of the Bainbridge College legacy. “We will retain that identity” perhaps by having ABAC appear in small print under the Bainbridge State College logo.”

One question from the audience asked what programs will there be to attract new industry. Will we have a program that will work with new companies to provide the specific training they will need of their workforce?

In answer, Bridges replied that he hoped to serve the community and meet its needs by working with any industry that has needs for a quality workforce all across the spectrum.