AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- Augusta University undergraduate students are moving into a brand-new dorm on the Health Sciences Campus Saturday.
“It’s going to totally change the face of the health sciences campus,” said AU president Dr. Brooks Keel. “It makes us now a true residential college across the board. We just couldn’t be more excited about it.”
Dr. Keel says around 400 undergrads now calling Oak Hall home means big things for the university and the college experience it offers.
“It’s really important we think to have freshmen in a facility like this where they have a lot of friends and college and help them get engaged with the university. That helps them be better students,” Keel said.
The new hall will also help attract students from beyond the CSRA.
“We’re getting students from all over, from as far south as Savannah and the coastal area, all the way up to Atlanta and beyond,” Keel said.
“If I couldn’t live on dorm, I wouldn’t be going here right now,” said AU freshman Shane Rowand, who plans on studying engineering and running track. Roward is from the Savannah, Ga. area.
“We’re truly becoming a university of the state. And we’ll start seeing an increase in that as we dramatically try to increase our enrollment,” Keel said.
Keel says this dorm will be the first of many.
“Right now, this will allow us to house about nine percent of our students, as we start increasing enrollment, we want to get more along 25 percent,” he said. “So you’ll be seeing a lot more residence halls come open over the next five, six years as we start increasing enrollment.”
With 400 freshmen now downtown, in addition to hundreds of grad students in Elm Hall next door, the city of Augusta will also benefit.
“So the economic development aspect of what we’re doing here is absolutely phenomenal, and this is just the beginning,” Keel said.
Freshmen can pay for a parking on the Health Sciences Campus or park their cars on the Summerville campus, but the goal is to have them get around by using shuttles that come every ten minutes.
Undergrad classes at AU start next week.