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I think the layout and topography of Tuscaloosa is adaptable compared to some other college campuses to keep that southern charm. With that fast of growth, the construction, development, planning, and architectural feel of a "small southern" town usually is overlooked. Probably my biggest concern. I think downtown still has a some potential to grow and probably could elevate it's "charm." It would be cool if some more of those buildings were mixed use and had residences above as well.
This post was edited by Bamaducks 15 months ago
I'm hopeful that one day the combination of larger enrollment plus a current generation of educators reaching the culmination of their tenure means I can one day return home to teach and give back to my alma mater.
One difference between Athens and Tuscaloosa is that Athens downtown has no room to grow, unlike Tuscaloosa. The same thing with the UGA campus. Their campus has an odd set up and thus any substantial growth makes the area feel even more congested.
I'll preface this by saying it was obviously a big football game, but: I came back to town for the A&M game this year (I just graduated in August). I was in town for a ton of big games turing my tenure, including the "Game of the Century" in 2011. Now, I don't know if it was because of there being more students or that A&M travels well or what, but we tried to go out on the Strip Friday night and you couldn't get in anywhere. The Red Shed had a line all the way to Egan's and around the corner. Even Egan's had a line about 30 feet long. The Houndstooth was packed shoulder-to-shoulder with at least 100 people doing so OUTSIDE the front gate. We headed downtown instead and tried CopperTop; you could get in, but the ENTIRE bar was shoulder-to-shoulder, not just the back band area like usual. Even Wilhagan's and the Pub were at capacity, something I've never seen before.
It made me think of going to Penn State a couple years ago. Their campus is HUGE and they have, what, like 60,000 students or something crazy? BUT, there "Strip" area wasn't much bigger than hours; thus, EVERY SINGLE BAR had a line after the game. Part of what Tuscaloosa needs is to grow with the University, too. With more students there needs to be more things to do. Or else things will get overcrowded.
I have multiple degrees from UofA and attended when the enrollment was 17,000 and also as big as 30,000. It was MUCH better to be a student when it was only 17,000. It was not crowded and very easy to get around campus. I feel bad for the kids who only know the giant (and still growing) campus that is the current UofA.
By the way I attended Michigan State University for one year before coming to UofA. The student enrollment is 45k plus. In order to get to my car I had to walk 10-15 minutes, wait for a bus, and then take that bus to a giant parking lot. Unfortunately UofA is on the path to bigger = better (why I am not sure).
Honestly, I graduated in 2008 and there are large, residential parts of campus down near the river that I didn't even know existed. The new Shelby quad area is totally new. Campus Drive doesn't go from the strip to new fraternity row anymore. Students can't drive around the quad. It is a drastically different place than it was 10 years ago.
Most of that is good, but some of it feels like it has taken a little bit away.
It's coming, and there's nothing you or I can do to stop it. If you could see the student housing going up, and what's in the works you wouldn't believe it. Every developer in the city is tied up in student/game day housing......
Not to mention the land the UA is buying up. We do a ton of it's construction fence, and let's just say they're expanding....
We'll be at 40k students in 5-8 years I'm thinking.....
This post was edited by rrobertson 15 months ago
Have we thought about how many of these students are strictly online? I think a good number have been distant learning students.
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