Neighbors now scattered about

Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
William Booker talks about the transition from moving from Gilbert Manor to Olmstead Homes. After living at Gilbert Manor for 17 years, he says he misses his home and seeing his old friends.

Beyond the boarded windows and vacant lots, William Booker still sees Gilbert Manor as his home.

He and his elderly mother moved out of the housing project into Olmstead Homes in July. He said it's still hard to believe the place he called home for 17 years no longer exists.

"It still hurts because once you get used to a place it's hard to get used to a different area," he said. "I don't see none of my friends anymore."

Mr. Booker was one of more than 250 residents of Gilbert Manor who were required to move to make room for the Medical College of Georgia's new dentistry school. The last resident moved out Sept. 30, said Richard Arfman, director of planning and development for the Augusta Housing Authority.

The majority -- 57 percent -- were moved to other housing projects. Most of the rest -- 37 percent -- received vouchers for Section 8 housing.

Work on the $112 million project is set to begin. Clearing of the site will begin in the spring, and MCG hopes to break ground on the building by the summer, said Dean Connie L. Drisko. The goal is to move into the property by fall 2010.

Mr. Booker said it hurts to see all the apartments -- 278 units -- boarded up and awaiting demolition.

"I miss it a lot, but I am making new friends here," he said. "I just got to get used to it."

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

MOVING ON

258 Gilbert Manor residents

Here's what happened to the residents who lived at Gilbert Manor before being moved out to make way for Medical College of Georgia's new school of dentistry:

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Olmstead Homes 92

Peabody Apartments 17

M.M. Scott 13

Ervin Towers 6

Oak Pointe 5

CherryTree Crossing 5

Allen Homes 4

Underwood Homes 3

Hal Powell 1

Dogwood Terrace 1

Issued voucher 94 (private sector)

Evictions 8

Private housing 6

Nursing home 1

Home ownership 1

Deceased 1

Source: Augusta Housing Authority