Eleven months after the former Atlanta Christian College announced plans to reopen in West Point as Point University, officials cut the ribbon on the renovated facility Wednesday.
“The day has finally arrived,” said Elinor Crowder, president of the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce. “Point University is home in West Point.”
Classes will start in the academic building, the former corporate office of WestPoint Stevens, on Aug. 22. Point University President Dean Collins said a convocation service will be held at 8:30 a.m. in the Sportsplex in Valley, Ala., before students are brought to West Point to start classes at 10:30 a.m. A dining hall and fine art building are expected to be complete and open in West Point before classes start. Students will live in Valley and use recreational facilities there and in West Point for sports and other activities.
The university’s opening in West Point has been a partnership between the Georgia city and Lanett and Valley, Ala., a partnership that was praised Wednesday. It wasn’t lost on anyone that the campus was opening in what was the heart of one of the area’s once-prosperous textile plants.
“We’ve had a lot of turmoil over the last thirty years,” said Valley Mayor Arnold Leak.
West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson IV said the college’s opening was part of the continuing transformation of the city to post-textile life.
“This is a remarkable institution and it will have a remarkable impact on the community,” he said.
State Rep. Kip Smith and state Sen. Josh McKoon, both of whom represent West Point in the General Assembly, said the community should be proud to be home to a university.
“Education is the great equalizer,” McKoon said. “The ability to have access to have higher education here is a true game-changer.”
Point University President said the community has been supportive of the college’s efforts.
“I know you all want to get in the building and see your old office,” he joked.
One of those former WestPoint Stevens employees was Dot Allen, who moved into the building when it opened in the 1950s. Ironically, she later worked for Batson Cook Construction, which did the renovations for Point.
“It’s not the same building,” she said, but she liked the changes.
“I’m delighted,” Allen said. “It’s such an addition to the community.”