April 28, 2014

On-campus dorms could bring energy to Dalton State

To say Dalton State College has greatly transformed itself since opening in September 1967 is a huge understatement.

Since the initial class of students that year, the college’s enrollment has grown from 524 to more than 5,000 today. During the past 47 years, Dalton Junior College became Dalton State College and the college now offers 17 four-year degrees. The college recently restarted its athletics program, which features nine sports with men’s and women’s soccer being added in 2015. A new science building will be dedicated next month.

But with all the growth, the glaring missing piece of the Dalton State puzzle has been dormitories. To be fair, the college offers on-campus living in the former Wood Valley Apartments. The complex is a quick walk north of the main campus on College Drive. The family-style apartments were remodeled and opened to students in August 2009.

The state Board of Regents said Monday it is pursuing a public-private partnership to build dorms at Dalton State and eight other colleges in Georgia. Dorms could open in 2016 at Dalton State if timelines hold true.

We hope they do.

Dalton State has long been viewed as a commuter school, but dorms could radically change that perception. On-campus living provides a greater sense of community for students. It would bring an exciting air of energy to the college. No longer would the campus seem less-than-busy at night and on weekends.

We are interested in learning more details about the plan including the cost to taxpayers and to students living in the dorms. And housing more students on campus presents many more considerations, from dining halls to parking to other amenities. A Dalton State official said the college could not comment because the project is in the early stages.

The news about the potential for dorms at Dalton State was a good first step. We are excited to see the next steps.

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