A buzz of positivity has followed the announcement of a coming-soon residential, retail and commercial development on Mercer University’s campus. Autumn ushered in news of an address change and the proposed plans for new Loft developments along with new campus restaurants and lodging accommodations.
Several current students and alumni shared their opinions about the proposed plans. When asked how they feel about all the recent changes and what the changes signify for the university and for Macon, their answers reflected the potential of growth and renewed vitality of both the school and the community.
Alex Morrison, Executive Director at Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority:
“I think it’s absolutely positive for all involved. With the fact that the university is growing, it’s evidence that people are applying to Mercer at higher rates. It’s showing that there is value in athletics. Mercer is outwardly expressing what we as alums intuitively know: it’s a great place that invites transformation.”
“The two [Mercer and Macon] are inextricably linked. The success of Mercer is a watermark for the growth of Macon. It is bringing in new taxpayers, new investments. We have to acknowledge that. It breeds a lot of excitement for the Macon community. Amazing that we are seeing this type of development.”
Meaghan Patterson, freshman undeclared major
“With the new lofts, we knew they were going to have to build more dorm/living space, particularly if they had another freshman class the size of ours. They barely fit us as it is. And the seniors are a lot of fewer [in number] than we are. It’s fairly logical that they are doing it.”
“Well, for the university, it means they are going to have to find more resources so they can build all this stuff, but it also means the university will be expanding, which will probably help the area around Macon. More businesses will be inclined to move over here to cater to college students.”
Michael Latham, junior information sciences and technology, IST, major
“I think it is a great change for the university overall. Change is always good. When it comes to specifically the Lofts, I think that just shows how much Mercer has grown in the last couple of years. As far as the address change, I understand why they had to do it, but 1400 Coleman [Ave.] will always be a part of Mercer history. So again, it is understandable why they had to change it, but I think I will still refer to it [as the old address].”
“As far as the community is concerned, I think it is going to be a great financial growth for the community. It is going to bring a lot more attention to Mercer and Macon because of the fact that more people are starting to take notice of what Mercer is doing for the community. I think that Mercer as a university has been integral in what [progress] Macon has done over the last couple of years. So to be able to see this growth, I think it is just going to be fantastic.”