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Saturday, August 08, 2009

FVSU expecting record enrollment

When it comes to Fort Valley State University’s enrollment, President Larry E. Rivers — a man with notoriously high expectations — does have a limit in mind.

“It would take a massive construction effort to accommodate more than 5,000,” Rivers said.

University officials don’t expect to reach that number this fall, but they plan on being closer than FVSU has ever been. Between 3,800 and 4,200 students are expected to attend FVSU this fall. About 1,500 will be freshmen. So far, 1,400 freshmen have paid housing deposits, Rivers said.

Last year, the university enrolled 3,106 students, a record for the institution. Until then, the school’s highest documented enrollment was 3,024 in 1996, according to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

Terrance Smith, the university’s vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, said FVSU is ready to accommodate the massive influx with recent improvements to the campus.

The most recent phase of Wildcat Commons was completed in July. The $16 million, 126,430-square-foot student housing complex features four-bedroom suites and semi-suites with two bathrooms, along with units of two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and three bedrooms and one bathroom. The dorm is expected to house about 378 students. Smith said the university also purchased University Villas, an apartment complex with 136 bedrooms adjacent to the school.

Student housing isn’t the only concern school officials addressed to help accommodate the expanded enrollment. A 10,000-seat stadium is expected to be completed by the middle of this month. The university also plans to extend its class schedule, with more evening classes being offered. A contract was signed with a new food services provider to bring in additional dining options and the central dining area will be open from 7 a.m. until midnight.

“We’re poised for another successful year,” Smith said.

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