Moving to a new location may still be in the cards for Thomas University. School officials say they've outgrown their campus on Millpond Road, but a new downtown location that was once being discussed would offer even less space.
Several months ago they hired an architectural firm to evaluate their choices, and they have come to the decision that building a new campus won't cost much more than renovating the current one, but they have to make sure this new campus will offer the space they need.
Thomas University officials say they may only have a little over 770 students enrolled this semester, but they expect their unique institution will attract many more in the years to come.
"We are the only high touch, private professional university in GA and there is nothing like us in North Florida, so we know we can be a destination campus," says John Hutchinson.
Administrators say they've already outgrown their current campus, but Thursday afternoon they decided against one possible move.
Some school officials and students say this location near the intersection of West Jackson Street and Remington Avenue would not have offered the amount of space needed by this growing university. They don't have the other kinds of spaces you normally see on a campus that provide opportunities for students to have assemblies and just simply "hang out.”
"Obviously the growing athletics program, we need more space to support the athletics program," says Alastair Joslin.
Downtown development officials say they are disappointed in the decision, but they understand the long term plans behind it.
"I have to accept that's not the best thing for the university. We're proud to have a four-year university here. We support it and we'll continue to support it no matter where it goes," Sharlene Celaya says.
School officials say they are really looking into a new rural location. They say they'll buy new property and rebuild the school. Administrators say they don't know how much money is involved. After a few more meetings with their architects it should be clear.
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