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Georgia General Assembly’s final FY2015 budget includes money for Darton State College

The surprise inclusion of $678,990 will be used to fund HVAC improvements in Darton’s student center.

The Georgia General Assembly gave its final approval of the state’s $20.8 billion FY2015 budget Tuesday. The budget included a surprise $678,990 funding allocation for Darton State College, which will use the money to upgrade HVAC units in the school’s student center. (File Photo)

The Georgia General Assembly gave its final approval of the state’s $20.8 billion FY2015 budget Tuesday. The budget included a surprise $678,990 funding allocation for Darton State College, which will use the money to upgrade HVAC units in the school’s student center. (File Photo)

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Rep. Gerald Greene

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Rep. Buddy Harden

ALBANY — As the 2014 session of the Georgia General Assembly draws to a close, it is easy to remember this is a gubernatorial election year as the House and Senate gave their final approval to a $20.8 billion FY 2015 budget.

The final budget contains much of what was proposed by Gov. Nathan Deal in January, such as $1.4 million for a redesign of a fine arts center for Albany State University. However, there were some late surprises like $17 million for parking at the Atlanta Falcons new stadium and unexpected funding for Darton State College.

Closer to home, the final budget included $678,990 for HVAC upgrades to Darton’s student center. The surprise was that Darton’s request was not originally in the big or supplemental budgets, but was added on the next to last day of the session.

“(Interim Paul Jones) is doing everything he can to help Darton College, and we thought that (the funding) would be a big help to the college,” Rep. Gerald Greene, R-Cuthbert, said in announcing the allocation Tuesday night. “Darton is a great college and we want to make sure that all their facilities are up to par. We want to help in any way possible because Darton and Albany State are assets to Dougherty County and to the entire region.”

Reached Wednesday for comment, DSC Dean of Institutional Advancement and Public Relations Tracy Goode was surprised by the funding, but definitely welcomed the local delegation’s help in securing the money.

“We extend our thanks and appreciation to the entire Southwest Georgia delegation; particularly, Representative Gerald Green and Representative Buddy Harden (R-Cordele) for their tireless efforts in working with the leadership of the House and Senate Budget Conference Committee to include Darton in the upcoming budget,” Goode said. “This funding is critical as it will allow us to overhaul our HVAC and mechanical systems in the old sections of the Student Center, and helps us move one phase closer towards total renovation of that facility.”

The House passed the budget 172-2 and the Senate followed 51-5. The budget now moves to Deal’s desk for his signature.