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Piedmont College expanding with new dorm
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Piedmont College is making room for more students.

The college broke ground Friday on a new residence hall on the Demorest campus.

The building, expected to be finished in fall 2012, will house 50 students with apartment-style dorms, allowing the Northeast Georgia campus to provide housing for 600 students.

The new dorm will have single-student rooms with
private bathrooms.

The new building is part of the college's trend toward expansion at the Demorest campus.

The college has a second, commuter-only campus in Athens. It also runs an off-campus graduate-level education program that accounts for more than a third of the university's total enrollment.

According to Piedmont spokesman David Price, this building will be the third new residence hall constructed in three years.

Given more anticipated growth, Drew Davis, Piedmont's dean of students, said he expects another residence hall will be needed for the following year.

Price said the effort to expand on-campus housing is a way to build excitement for undergraduates.

"More on-campus students creates more energy and allows us to offer more programs," Price said.

Piedmont's total enrollment this fall semester rose to 2,834 students at the Demorest and Athens campuses, up nearly 200 from the previous year, according to a press release from the college.

About 1,100 of those students are undergraduates at the Demorest campus.

Davis said that enrollment spike is fueled in part by the college's academic reputation but also its setting at the foot of the mountains with easy access to Gainesville and Atlanta.

The school is also in the process of constructing its new Art Department building and renovation of an art museum.