Written by Pearly Bowser
Albany, Ga – The future location of a program that encourages middle school students to graduate from high school and helps them prepare for college is under review. Right now, Albany Early College is operated by the Dougherty County School system, but is housed in Andrews Hall on Albany State University’s campus.
“Recently, a meeting was held with Dougherty County Schools Interim Superintendent Butch Mosley and Dr. Freeman to explore the best long term options for Albany Early College’s location,” said ASU Vice President for Fiscal Affairs Larry Wakefield. “Subsequently, a tentative agreement was reached with Executive Director of Finance and Operations Ken Dyer about a financial settlement which was to have been considered by the board as part of the DCSS consolidation plan.” During the discussions, President Freeman volunteered to meet with the DCSS board.
The proposed new lease agreement allows AEC to remain at ASU in Andrews Hall at no charge from April 1st – June 30.
Since beginning in 2009, AEC officials used the first and second floors of Andrews Hall for 4 years at no charge.
Last year, a renovation project occurred to prepare the 3rd floor for use. Over the years, ASU has invested over $300,000 to build laboratories, a dining facility and classrooms for AEC’s use. After the renovations were completed in 2012, AEC took over the entire building under a new lease agreement which required payment of $2,000 a month plus utility costs.
“The University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents has requested that all of its institutions review and inventory campus buildings to prioritize the use of classrooms, labs and staff offices. With DCSS’s plans to consolidate and close schools, it is time to rethink how Andrews Hall is utilized,” said ASU President Everette J. Freeman.
The early college program was an initiative supported by the USG. Since that time, early college programs at Georgia Southwestern University and Valdosta State University have also relocated off campus to meet the system’s space utilization request.
“ASU remains committed to collaborating with DCSS to improve high school completion and expand college access for students in the Dougherty County Schools,” Freeman added.