Bainbridge College is doing more than shaping the futures of students at its campus. It's also helping to shape the economic future of Early County.
Butch Wiggins knows from personal experience how much a college campus can benefit a community.
"I grew up in a college town, I know how important a college is and I was a day student so what that is too. I'm not sure I would've gone to college had I not had one at home to go to," Wiggins said.
When Bainbridge College developed a site in Early County, Wiggins says it opened some doors.
"What I think it does is offer an opportunity for a lot of our kids to go to school that would not do it otherwise," Wiggins said.
It also offers financial opportunities for the county.
"As a matter of fact, the impact that this college has on our host communities, considering the size of our host communities is larger than usually would be expected," Executive Director of Institutional Advancement, Dale Fuller said.
From Bainbridge, to Blakely the college's economic impact totals almost $81 million dollars filtering to the surrounding communities.
That's according to a yearly study by the University of Georgia.
It measured the economic impact as well as student, faculty and staff spending, operating budgets and construction impacts on surrounding communities.
"The faculty and staff and the money they spend here is big. It's a big payroll for this little county," Wiggins said.
Within a year that impact may see even more growth when the college starts offering four year degrees.
Fuller says the college will soon be offering agriculture degrees for the first time.
They're also in the process of developing a site in Donalsonville.
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