Yesterday, Calhoun Community College and Athens State University hosted a groundbreaking ceremony in celebration of the construction for new residence halls at the Alabama Center for the Arts (ACA) in downtown Decatur.
“Today is a great day for Calhoun, Athens State and the City of Decatur,” commented Dr. Jimmy Hodges, Calhoun Interim President. “This was a project we foresaw working towards in the future, but today bears the fruit of the great work and dedication of our elected officials, city government and institutions who put forth the work in making it happen now, and for that I couldn’t be any more proud,” said Hodges.
According to Hodges, the 3-story, 43,474 square foot residence hall will be the ACA’s first-ever dormitory for students. The new state-of-the-art living facility will feature 49 apartments with a mix of 11 studio, 19 one-bedroom, and 19 two-bedroom units for a total of 68 beds, which includes both ADA (Americans with Disabilities ACT) and adaptable units. Students who live in the dorms will have amenities that include refrigerator, stove/oven, microwave, dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer, as well as high-speed internet. The building will also be equipped with a 250 mph rated storm shelter on the first floor to accommodate all residents. Interior common areas will include a post office, leasing office, as well as a study area with computer labs on all three floors. The building will be secured as keyless entry access cards are required to enter the building and will be provided to each student resident. Video surveillance cameras will also be placed on all exterior entrances and exits of the building to add an extra layer of security.
“I recall when I first interviewed to be the President of Athens State University,” commented Dr. Philip Way. “One of the things that stood out in my mind was the dynamic and close knit relationship between Calhoun and Athens State. It is one that I have watched continue to grow strongly and as a result, our collaborative effort through the ACA continues to grow as well. It is so exciting that people from all over the world can now attend our Arts Center without the worry of where they will live. Our achievements today will only continue to expand our programs at the ACA and I couldn’t be happier,” added Way.
The Alabama Center for the Arts (ACA) represents a unique partnership between Calhoun Community College, Athens State University, and the City of Decatur. Individuals who are seeking a career or hobby in the arts are able to attend the ACA. Those who are interested in a career can seamlessly complete an Associate degree from Calhoun and continue under the same roof to complete their bachelor’s degree from Athens State.
“While visiting the ACA a few years ago, I ran into an Athens State instructor who happened to be walking through the halls. I casually asked her what we could do to make the ACA more prominent and attractive to future students, and the instructor simply replied by saying, dormitories,” commented Alabama Senator Arthur Orr. “After thoughtful consideration, I knew what the instructor said was exactly what the ACA lacked among its competitors. It’s difficult to attract individuals outside of North Alabama without providing convenient housing accommodations,” said Orr.
The main goal and focus for all parties involved with the ACA is to attract more students and increase enrollment. Senator Arthur Orr, with the help of both institutions, put together a student housing proposal to present to Governor Ivey in January of 2020. The Governor approved $15M towards the construction of residence halls at the ACA, which was a part of the Public School and College Authority (PSCA) Bond issue. The funding for the PSCA was intended for public schools to use toward construction, safety improvement, or technology upgrades. “What a great day for the ACA and its students, as they will now have student housing right around the corner from its site. This will make a tremendous impact on not only the future growth of the ACA, but for Downtown Decatur as well,” added Orr.
“The City of Decatur has made a big commitment to increase opportunities for those who want to learn and work in the various arts fields,” commented Jacob Ladner, Decatur City Council President. “The ACA is a world class facility, and we are excited to have an opportunity to show that to individuals all across the world and provide them with a high-quality format of learning,” added Ladner.
Century Construction is preparing the site to begin construction as quickly as possible. Individuals who are interested in learning at the Alabama Center for the Arts can register now by visiting www.alabamacenterforthearts.org.