Decatur can now officially call itself a college town.
The Decatur City Council unanimously agreed to annex Calhoun Community College into the city limits Tuesday. The move will expand Decatur police and fire protection to the 110-acre campus on U.S. 31 in Limestone County with little impact on the city’s budget, officials said.
“I think we’ve always thought of Calhoun as Decatur’s school, and now this makes it official,” said Mayor Don Kyle, whose mother taught classes at the campus.
Calhoun President Marilyn Beck and state Board of Education member Dr. Charles Elliott, R-Decatur, thanked the council for considering the annexation. The measure was previously approved by the state BOE and Decatur Planning Commission.
“We see many advantages to our students, faculty and staff to significantly improve safety and security to our campus,” Beck said.
Fire Chief Darwin Clark said he expects the transition to providing service to the college to be “as seamless as possible.”
“We already have a mutual aid agreement with them where Limestone County was dispatching us to some of their calls if they needed us,” Clark said. “Now all those calls will go directly to Morgan County dispatch.”
Clark said response time should improve with the change by eliminating the redundancy. He and Police Chief Ed Taylor have said they see opportunities in the future to work with the college, which has its own campus police, on training of police and firefighters.
“Ms. Beck has done a good job with the buildings out there, and all the properties are up to our fire codes and have sprinkler systems, so there will be no impact on our insurance rating,” Clark said.
More than 5,000 students attend the school. This summer, Calhoun opened Phase 1 of the Alabama Center for the Arts on Second Avenue Southeast, and Phase 2 should begin construction next year.
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