Tifton Gazette

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September 20, 2006

ABAC dedicates health building

TIFTON — Calling the new Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Health Services building “a great example of local collaboration and teamwork,” William Richardson, president and CEO of Tift Regional Medical Center, praised the partnership between the ABAC Foundation and TRMC. Richardson’s remarks were made at the official dedication ceremony for the Health Services building Wednesday morning.

The 41,424-square-foot, $7.2 million building will serve nursing students with classrooms and clinical labs and will serve as the student health center for the entire campus.

The two-story brick building, which occupies the space previously occupied by the Moore Building and Creswell Hall, was funded through a combination of state and private funds, including a $1 million gift from TRMC.

Speaking of the shortage of nurses in this country, particularly in rural areas like south central Georgia, and the initial shortfall of moneys to fund the building as the ABAC Foundation had envisioned it, Richardson said he knew “we had to get there somehow” and recognized that ABAC and TRMC were on the path to a common goal.

Mr. and Mrs. Dan Pennington of Pennington Seed, Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Allen of Pike Creek Turf Inc., and Dr. Phillip Roberts, medical director of Phoebe Putney Cancer Center, also made contributions to build the nursing facility. The Hill-Rom company donated hospital beds.

Dr. David Bridges, ABAC president, referred to the familiar saying “build it and they will come,” saying that it did not apply in ABAC’s case because nursing students “came before we had a building to come to.”

The nursing program is about 40 years old. Bridges said that it started out as a “fledgling department which has now grown to one of the largest departments on campus, rivaling agriculture.”

Bridges pointed out that on the list of contributors “you will see that two agriculturists stepped to the plate” and said that agriculture and nursing can go forward together to address the future.

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