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Ashley purchase shows interest in campus growth

A VSU official says that the recent purchase of Ashley Cinemas is part of a greater plan for future university expansion into northern Valdosta.

 Ashley Cinemas Theater was purchased in order to expand the campus and provide 273 needed parking spaces for North Campus and according to Sue Fuciarelli, vice president for finance and administration, the purchase was just a small step in a big process. 

 “The Ashley Cinemas property is a long-term strategic purchase for us since the property is adjacent to our North Campus,” Fuciarelli said.

 The property deal was closed on Jan. 31 in which VSU acquired a total of 6.08 acres of land for 2.39 million dollars. 

In the short-term, VSU will contract with the theatre company to continue operations and provide a revenue stream from the property. 

 Immediate uses for the campus include much needed parking during the day and continued operation of the theatre during the afternoons, evenings and weekends. 

 “This will provide a revenue stream for VSU plus keep our options open as our campus continues to grow,” Fuciarelli said.

 Since July 1979, the 25,000 sq. ft. Ashley Cinemas has offered movies throughout the community.  Originally owned by Litchfield Theaters, Ashley Cinemas was a popular weekend activity throughout the area.  In spring 1991, Georgia Theater Company withheld new ownership and the theater remains to be a popular attraction.

 With all the talk throughout the community, a VSU student and former VSU baseball coach, Tommy Thomas, speak their opinion.

 “I really like how VSU is trying to expand the campus,” Matt Towe, sophomore criminal justice major, said.  “The only thing that sucks is that I am a broke college student and Ashley Cinemas is cheap fun.”

 Thomas shares a similar opinion.

 “I believe that the purchase of Ashley Cinemas for the future growth of this great University is a phenomenal idea,” Thomas said.  “I think that some people will be upset about it because of the cheap movies, but I also believe that Valdosta State is one of the fastest growing colleges in the state of Georgia.  The purchase of the stadium cinemas is just another step forward to the University.”

 In the meantime, long term plans for the property are still being developed. 

 “There are big plans for the Valdosta State North Campus,” Fuciarelli said.  “We share much community and state support for a new Health Sciences Business Administration building, which would be located directly across from South Georgia Medical Center’s new parking garage that is currently under construction.    We will be undergoing campus master planning to look at a number of possibilities for this entire North Campus property.”

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