UGA President Michael Adams said Thursday that administrators are negotiating with Navy officials to lease part of the Prince Avenue base before the Navy moves its school to a base in Rhode Island.
The university is scheduled to assume the historic property in 2012, Adams said. The Navy is scheduled to shutter its Athens operations in 2011.
The Navy school campus will become the home of a medical school campus run jointly by the Medical College of Georgia and UGA. But the largest tenant on the 58-acre, 24-building campus will be the College of Public Health, Adams said.
Founded in 2005, the college has about 570 students - 400 undergraduates and 170 graduate students - and should keep up a brisk growth rate in the next few years, Dean Phillip Williams said.
Public health faculty and classes now are distributed among several UGA buildings, including the Coverdell Center, the Environmental Health Building, the Ramsey Student Center, Barrow Hall and a rented building in downtown Athens.
The medical campus will enroll about 160 students after four years, Adams said - four classes of 40 beginning medical students.
The university must get state money to renovate some of the existing Navy school buildings, or to erect new buildings before the entire college moves to Normaltown, said UGA Provost Arnett Mace. Some public health classes and research require laboratories, and there is no lab space at the Navy school campus, Williams said.