In my humble opinion, the decision makers at Georgia Southern continue to make shrewd decisions when it comes to the ongoing development of the university.
Specifically, a planned expansion of recreation offerings for a growing student enrollment is underway following the September 2010 purchase of 167 acres by the Georgia Southern University Housing Foundation, a non-profit corporation established to acquire and develop real estate.
According to GSU marketing and communications director Christian Flathman, the land is located adjacent to the Meadow Lakes subdivision in Statesboro and includes the 18-hole golf course formally known as Southern Links.
Once the redevelopment is complete, the university will offer additional activities such as a walking/cross country course, disc golf courses, as well as the golf course that is already in place.
At present, there is a clubhouse on the grounds which will remain according to Flathman. The university has proposed, if funding is available, to construct a new 4,000-6,000-square-foot maintenance building and 3,500-square-foot golf cart storage facility. In addition, a 6,000-square-foot event pavilion is included in the request for quote.
Plans also include using the facility for a variety of academic purposes including teaching classes at the complex. Georgia Southern is going to use the term "University Park" for the property.
"With a student enrollment expecting to exceed 20,000 students this fall, the property will allow Georgia Southern to continue to expand its recreation offerings and space," Flathman said. "The purchase is being funded by student fees."
As required by the state, Georgia Southern has issued a Request for Quote (RFQ) for design and construction of the facility. Once that process is complete, design and construction is expected to begin with the goal of having the facility ready for the fall semester 2012.
It is important to emphasize that these are not actually "bids," but request for quotes that will be submitted from various companies. Available budget will determine the feasibility and timeline for the above individual facilities. The university hopes to begin interviews of prospective companies in early May. A final selection date has not been determined.
Plans at this time are for the golf course to be open to students, faculty and staff, as well as to the general public. Details have not been worked out, but will be announced when available.
This is a "win-win" for the homeowners who faced uncertainty living on an empty golf course, and for the students and residents of Bulloch County who will be able to access the golf course.
Best of all, you know it will be done right, because it is being redeveloped by Georgia Southern, the economic engine that could.
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
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