Augusta State University has rich historical roots, tracing back to 1783, and through the centuries the institution has had its ups and downs. Since the late 1940s, its best known architectural feature was the six long, linear buildings - remodeled from World War II ammunition warehouses - that formed the core of the campus's classroom and office space.
Well, that was then and this is now. ASU is currently undergoing upgrades and renovations that point to a very bright future.
A stately new front entrance opened up a few weeks ago at Walton Way and Fleming Avenue. The entry way is being compared to the Arch at the University of Georgia or the Horseshoe at the University of South Carolina.
However it's described, the fact is the entrance adds a grandeur and function to the campus that wasn't there before. The scenic entry should, over time, come to symbolize the university in photographs and postcards.
It will be a constant reminder to all who enter that something very important is going on within. An entry way to an institution of higher learning should not just be another threshold. It should be something special and different, marking a new and exciting world to explore. ASU's new entrance achieves just that, and students and faculty have reason to be proud.
The new entry way, coupled with the opening several days later of towering new University Hall - the spacious $12.6 million, three-story high classroom building - is just the start of dramatic architectural changes at ASU, according to President William A. Bloodworth Jr.
Over the next year, the university will build off-campus student housing, demolish six of the old classroom buildings, add several parking lots and start work on a $15 million student activities center, to include a fitness center, to be built onto the front of Reese Library.
"One of the reasons that we have been able to make such plans for our physical development," says Bloodworth, "is because we have more students than ever before - a record enrollment last fall and probably another record this fall."
As enrollment pushes beyond 6,000 and into the 7,000-student range, plans call for adding more library and fine arts space and academic buildings on the Wrightsboro Road property.
In other words, if you're looking for good news, cast your eyes in the direction of Augusta State. Its future has never looked better.