Some ideas on the table include building freshman dorms and parking decks at Augusta State University. (WRDW-TV / March 19, 2012)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, March 19, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- If you build it, they will come. That is the idea behind a plan to build new dorms and parking decks at Augusta State University.
"Change will come," said Dr. Ricardo Azziz. "We can't continue to do the same thing that we have done before and expect new results."
Some agree with the plan.
"I think freshman dorms are a great idea," said Professor Steven Weiss who is convinced the move would attract more students. "Another advantage of student dormitories on campus is that they create a new kind of campus environment."
Sources tell News 12 the construction would be focused on the Walton Way campus along Arsenal Avenue. School leaders want to replace the surface parking.
"Initially I would say it is kind of a scary thought," said Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles who lives in the surrounding Summerville neighborhood. "It [at first]sounded like a crazy idea. My concern is there are a lot of homes that surround Augusta State and the impact on the property value if you build a parking deck right in somebody's backyard."
"This is a large parking deck and as you can see it is very well landscaped," said GHSU communication director Jack Evans. "This is actually one of the greener, better-looking parts of the GHSU campus."
Evans is also president of the Summerville Neighborhood Association.
"We don't want traffic flow problems," Evans said. "We don't want eyesores."
This is just the beginning for the two universities set for a merger later this year. There is also talk of a riverfront campus at the old Golf and Gardens property. It is driving talks of a baseball stadium along the river.
"Nothing is off the table at this point," Azziz said. "Athletics certainly is part of it, biotechnology is part of that, housing is part of that, performing arts is part of that. All of these are options and possibilities."
Azziz and city leaders will be meeting with the Ripken Group this week. They will be in town to talk about options for the new Golf and Gardens property.