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UA entered the fall semester with a total enrollment of 33,600 students, a 5.8 percent increase over the fall of 2011. Growth doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon, which begs the question: how much growth is enough? To its credit, UA seems to be working hard from an infrastructure standpoint to stay ahead of the rush.
For me, it's about balancing massive growth and the vibe a true college town exudes. I'm all for one if it doesn't sacrifice the other.
Which leads me to some time I spent in Athens recently, a place that used to rank at the top of my favorite college towns in America. With the downtown and university areas being overbuilt, it's lost a good bit of the charm that I remember from a decade or so ago. Hate to see that go, but that's what happens when large hotels, high rise condos and grocery stores start to take prominent spots in downtown.
And keep in mind that UGA's enrollment for the fall was just a thousand more students than UA's. Right now, give me Milledgeville as the top college town in the state of Georgia. Quaint and easy to navigate, it's what I envision Athens having been like forty years ago. For the same reasons, along with great dining, quality nightlife and improved lodging options, Oxford has taken over as my favorite road trip in the SEC.
Never thought I'd say this, but here's hoping Tuscaloosa and UA don't follow the lead of Athens and UGA.
This post has been edited 4 times, most recently by Travis Reier 15 months ago
I agree 100%
"Hey, hey, hey. A life. A life, Jimmy, you know what that is? It's the shit that happens while you're waiting for moments that never come."
50,000 would be (at least) 15,000 too many, IMO. Would pretty much be open enrollment if 50K was the number.
This post was edited by Travis Reier 15 months ago
I think it can work, Alabama just needs to find a way to secure the park land along the river and all of the loony bin land and it has the potential to be one of the nicest campuses around. Downtown doesn't need to encroach east, it needs to move south and west and cut-off at LBW. It has plenty of room as well, it just needs the proper development.
Tuscaloosa unmanaged or improperly developed could turn ugly though.
I graduated in 04 and can't believe enrollment is so huge right now. I personally hope it slows down a bit. There's no way the experience is the same. But who knows?
The university has already started moving East. The university is buying or has already bought crescent east. Those who don't know it's low income housing off crescent ridge road. The tornado cleared out a bunch of older housing/land that eventually would have been bought by the university but it expedited the process. The old city fest lot will soon be a 5 star hotel over looking the river and there are several businesses looking to build at the old John curry furniture building in Temerson square. Tuscaloosa is definitely trying to be more of a big city but there isn't much room to grow as long as Northport can stay afloat.
Biggest Bama fan in Australia
When I started at Alabama we had 18,000 students. Seemed pretty big to me having come from a town of only 9,000 people. After 4 years of being at Alabama 18,000 seemed the perfect size as you knew most people but there were always a few people left to meet. I imagine the college experience is different for the students today.
The town has improved a great deal since 1994. Its a lot cleaner and nicer. They've done a good job of preserving some charm in the growth.
However, I was never a fan of the bar scene moving further away from campus. The concept of making college students have to drive to drink made little sense. I like those bars and they seem very nice but I miss the days of starting at Gillete's then eating at Phils then walking down to the Tusk then late nighting at the Booth.
Growth is a good thing for UA. What jumps out to me is some of my friends that have graduated in 80's from UA and were great students would not be able to get in now with the higher standards and demand.
The excellence in academics and athletics have created the highest demand from top students from around the nation in UA's history. They deserve the best infrastructure too.
Seeing everyone from the mayor of Tuscaloosa, BOT, Saban, UA leadership, fans, athletes, alumini, and community working together to make the UA experience the best is exciting. RTR!
You'd think UA could fill 17K student seats with 33K students enrolled. Maybe student tickets should be first come, first serve and you get charged for the ticket when you swipe at the gate.
"You don't always get what you want, but you always get what you deserve"
I've heard from a school official that once 35,000 is reached they will slowly begin raising the entrance requirements to maintain around 35,000 because that's what the infrastructure plans can sustain.
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