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ABAC completes facility transfer to Early Co. Schools

BLAKELY – A facility that formerly served as Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College’s campus in Blakely was officially transferred to the Early County School System in a ceremony Wednesday held at the site located on Harold Ragan Drive.

Officials from ABAC and Early County Schools were joined by University System of Georgia Chancellor Sonny Perdue and other state officials for the ceremony.

“This project is an example of a fantastic partnership,” said ABAC President Tracy Brundage. “Our mission and the mission of the Early County School System is to improve the educational landscape for young people in South Georgia. A lot of people worked together to make this a reality and we are thankful for all of them.”

The 26-acre site was originally built for Albany Technical College and was later used by Bainbridge State College and Southern Regional Technical College. Bainbridge State was consolidated with ABAC in 2018 and in 2020, ABAC ceased operations in Blakely due to budget constraints. Former ABAC president David Bridges initiated discussions with the school system, county commission, and development authority in Early County to find the best use for the facility.

Working with Early County superintendent Jennifer Brown and former Board of Education chairman James Cannon, the decision was made to transfer the property and facilities. An intergovernmental agreement was created in 2022 and the Board of Regents approved the transfer in January.

“It gives me great pleasure to turn this campus back to local control by transferring ownership of the campus from the Board of Regents to the Early County School System,” University System of Georgia Chancellor Sonny Perdue said. “I’m confident this will save Georgia taxpayers and Early County the millions of dollars that would be needed to construct new middle and high school facilities, and that this campus will continue to be a source of pride for this great community. Most importantly, it will continue to transform the lives of students through education.”

Because the Early County School System was about to face the construction of new facilities, the transfer of the new facility saves local taxpayers millions of dollars.

“A lot of people worked tirelessly on this project,” said Early County Superintendent Jennifer Brown. “We are appreciative of those who made today a reality. Our students will benefit from this facility and that’s been everyone’s focus from the start.”

After the ceremony, Perdue and members of his staff joined Brundage for a tour of the ABAC Bainbridge campus. They met with Dr. Michael Kirkland, Executive Director of the ABAC Bainbridge campus, as well as faculty, staff, and students.

“I enjoyed the visit and the tour very much,” Perdue said. “I appreciate the hard work being done by President Brundage and the college’s faculty and staff on behalf of ABAC’s students.”

 

Officials from the Early County School System, ABAC, the University System of Georgia, and elected officials joined to celebrate the official transfer of the former ABAC campus in Blakely to Early County Schools last week at the facility, located on Harold Ragan Drive.

 

Perdue and members of his staff joined ABAC President Tracy Brundage for a tour of the ABAC Bainbridge campus. They met with Dr. Michael Kirkland, Executive Director of the ABAC Bainbridge campus, as well as faculty, staff, and students.

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