Alabama Center for the Arts Celebrates New Residence Hall Apartments with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

ACA Residence Hall Ribbon Cutting

Calhoun Community College, Athens State University, and local legislators celebrated the opening of its new Alabama Center for the Arts (ACA) residence hall apartments with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 4.

According to Dr. Jimmy Hodges, Calhoun President, the three-story, 43,474-square-foot residence hall is the first of its kind, developed primarily for students seeking art degrees through Calhoun or Athens State at the ACA. Alabama Senator Arthur Orr envisioned the living space, and the two institutions worked together to turn the vision into a residence hall proposal. Senator Orr submitted the proposal to Governor Ivey in January of 2020, and upon review, Governor Ivey approved $15 million in funding through the Public School and College Authority (PSCA) Bond issue, which was established to help fund construction, safety improvements, and technology upgrades to Alabama’s public schools.

“From its inception, the goal of the Alabama Center for the Arts was to model its academic and cultural programs after SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design), which is ideal for Decatur as it already has academic and performance facilities within the footprint of its walkable and culturally vibrant downtown area,” said Orr. “The main goals and focus for the ACA are to attract more students and increase enrollment, and this will help us to do just that,” Orr added.

The new state-of-the-art living facility features 49 ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant apartments that offer a mix of 11 studios, 19 one-bedroom, and 19 two-bedroom units for a total of 68 beds. Each unit is equipped with a refrigerator, stove/oven, microwave, dishwasher, washer and dryer, as well as high-speed internet and Wi-Fi. The building has a post office, leasing office, as well as computer study labs on all three floors. Residents can enjoy common areas throughout the building, along with access to a fenced courtyard, which provides seating for outdoor gatherings. The building will be secured as keyless entry access cards are required to enter the building and will be provided to each resident upon move-in. Video surveillance cameras are located on all exterior entrances and exits of the building to add an extra layer of security. In the event of inclement weather, a 250-mph rated storm shelter is located on the first floor to accommodate a safe space for all residents to take shelter if need be.

“Athens State is thrilled to collaborate with Calhoun Community College to create a living/learning environment for our arts and theatre students,” said Dr. Catherine Wehlburg, President at Athens State University. “This is a new era of opportunity for our students – our students will not just reside at the new ACA Residence Hall, they will thrive as they immerse themselves in a community that is dedicated to fostering their talents and enriching our vibrant, artistic educational programs!”

The application process is now open and ACA students can apply to be considered for one of the available units. “This is honestly like a dream come true where we can now provide affordable housing for our students,” Kim Parker, Calhoun’s Dean of Fine Arts/ACA Executive Director, says emotionally. “Providing affordable housing ensures that higher education remains accessible and equitable, enabling all students to pursue their goals without undue financial burden,” said Dr. David Ragsdale, Athens State Dean for the College of Arts & Sciences at Athens State University. “This residence hall is more than just a building. It is a place where friendships will be forged, dreams will be pursued, and countless memories will be made.”

“The future is bright for the Alabama Center for the Arts and its students,” commented Dr. Hodges. “We couldn’t have made any of this possible without the help and support of our legislators as well as the guidance from the Alabama Community College System. We are extremely grateful for the assistance and look forward to filling the residence hall apartments as quickly as possible,” Hodges added. 

To learn more about the Alabama Center for the Arts as well as to view the degree programs that are being offered, visit  To submit your application for the residence hall apartments, visit

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