Study shows CSU has $250 Million economic impact - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Study shows CSU has $250 Million economic impact

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Columbus State University sophomore Rachel Bousson is from Fayetteville near Peachtree City. Though it's near Atlanta, she grew up in a rural area. She says coming to Columbus was an eye opening opportunity giving her a chance to take advantage of what the university and city has to offer. 

"You've got restaurants, two malls, downtown, the Whitewater rafting," Bousson said. 

Rachel is just one of the thousands of students who work, live, and play in the Chattahoochee Valley. A recent study on Georgia universities' economic impact show a 7% increase from 2011 to 2012, giving CSU an almost $250 million impact on the local economy. 

"The impact that Columbus State has on Columbus and the Valley surprises a lot of people, but this is a big business," CSU President Dr. Tim Mescon said.  

While CSU may have a huge impact on the Columbus community, senior criminal justice major Marcel Harrison says it isn't a two-way street. 

"The city doesn't actually cater to the college students and that's the reason why most of the student population who are from Atlanta, who are from Alabama, they go home every weekend," he says. 

City leaders say this could soon change with major developments on the way for the downtown Columbus area. University statistics show that in the past four years enrollment has swelled to over 8,000 students.

University President Tim Mescon says they are looking to expand things within the university starting with 500 new freshman dorm rooms. 

"We are always looking for that next opportunity. We think for us it's freshman housing and we are very excited about the prospect that might bring," Mescon said. 

Just this week the university's faculty ranked among Georgia's top online professors. There is no word on when the new dorms are expected to be built. 

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