About 10 years ago, it was tucked away on the grounds of Fort Gordon, but since then the Georgia Military College's Augusta campus has spread off post and doubled its enrollment.
The junior college continued that growth recently, opening a new 10,000-square-foot science and technology building on the Martinez portion of its campus.
Bruce Wright, the director of the campus, the largest of Georgia Military College's four satellite sites, said the new building provides his 1,050 to 1,250 students a state-of-the-art facility with a chemistry lab, a biology lab, a computer lab, classrooms and office space.
"If you know anything about Fort Gordon, everything at Fort Gordon is old," he said.
Students can use the labs at the new science and technology building rather than the older facilities on post, which are currently closed, Mr. Wright said. Rather than driving out to the post and going through security checks each time, students, many of whom come from Columbia and Richmond counties, can go to the campus near Davis and Washington roads.
The college also has added much needed additional parking for about 250 students, he said.
Mr. Wright said the college began as a support program for the military but now has more civilian than military students.
The students run the gamut in age and background, he said. Some are right out of high school and unable to attend a four-year college because they lack the SAT or ACT score, and others are senior citizens looking to enhance their education.
The most popular program at the college is the pre-nursing program. Because the college is a two-year school, he said, students don't attend to graduate, but rather to transfer elsewhere. Most students get the basics at the college and then transfer to Augusta State University.
Mr. Wright said the Martinez campus is prepared to expand again if needed.
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BY THE NUMBERS
3: New labs
4: New classrooms
250: New parking spaces
10,000: Square feet in the new science and technology building
Source: Georgia Military College-Augusta