AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – If you attended Augusta University back when it was Augusta College, it was mostly off-campus living. Recently, the school has expanded to help push the university to a more residential campus.
Jaquiara Russell was one of the first students to step into the brand new building adjacent to the dental school.
“It’s fresh. It’s new. Nobody has been here. It’s clean and it’s safe,” the senior Nursing student told NewsChannel 6.
First year Medical student Jarrett Davis, of Marietta, Georgia, checked into the new dorm, too.
“It’s brand new. It’s brand new. It’s right across the street from class,” he said. “Laundry is right there. The gym and cafeteria are right down the street so it’s kind of like in the middle of everything.”
Thursday is move-in day. As as car doors slam and dollies roll, graduate and professional students hauled essentials inside their home on campus.
Janay Casey moved for other campus housing.
“We’re closer to the school so we have access to walk to class and get there in a timely manner or we can sleep in a little bit later and still get there on time,” she said excitedly.
Janay and her best friend Jaquiara will be roommates. Both are looking forward to the Elm Hall experience.
Students live in private rooms styled like one and two-bedroom apartments complete with a kitchen furnished with appliances. It’s designed for students aiming for anything from a Ph.D., M.D. or Masters degree.
“I already know a junior that’s here that is starting nursing school in August, so I’ll be talking with her and I can help out with study groups,” Russell said.
“Not only that, but when I stayed in the dorms and she didn’t it was like whose place are we going to study at. Now that we’re roommates, we can just knock on each other’s door and say hey, it’s time to study,” Casey added.
Davis, who graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgia Tech, is looking forward to getting another degree. He first has to make a run to Target or Walmart after he unpacks.
“It’s medical school so it’s not gonna be like undergrad, obviously. It will only be two years of classes and at the end of it I’ll be a Dr,” he told me.
The dorm is the perfect set-up for older students. Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs Dr. Mark Allen Poisel said, “Graduate and professional students want a little bit higher class level experience.”
And with the look and feel of a 5-star hotel, the key-card door entry and all, students focus on school.
Dr. Poisel said, “Everything is all-inclusive. The student pays one fee and that includes their Internet, their cable, their water.”
Dr. Poisel added that the price equals about a little more than $800 a month whereas rent in town could reach the thousands.
The new residence hall is all about convenience. Laundry services are on the same floor as the apartments. Back in the day, it was located in the basement of dorms. Students in those older dorms would wash and dry clothes, leave them and someone would remove those clothes because they stayed inside the appliance for too long. Augusta University found a way to eliminate that problem, offering students in Elm Hall access to a cell phone app that will send a text message alert stating the items are done.
“I didn’t know about that. That’s pretty awesome though,” Davis said.
Russell knew all about it.
“The text message? I can leave and do whatever I do and get the text messages and come right back and get my clothes,” she exclaimed.
Casey added, “Not only that, but [in] the old building we had to pay $1.25 to wash and $1.25 to dry and here it’s free, so I’m happy about that.”
Elm Hall holds 312 beds. It is located in Jaguar Park, which will lodge more 700 undergraduate and graduate students once the new undergraduate dorm opens in a few weeks.
Photojournalist: Gary Hipps