The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia authorized the establishment of a junior college in Decatur County, Georgia, in December, 1970. As required by Board policy, the local community provided and developed the College site and on September 23, 1971, approved a $2 million bond issued to provide funds for the initial physical plant.
The late Charles H. Kirbo donated much of the land where Bainbridge Junior College would be built. In July 1972, construction of the first five buildings began under the supervision of the founding president, Dr. Edward Mobley. Temporary offices operated in downtown Bainbridge at 215 East Water Street and 122 West Water Street during construction. College staff members occupied the first buildings on August 16, 1973. The charter class consisting of 217 students began classes on October 1, 1973.
During the 1973-1974 academic year, a unique agreement between the Board of Regents and the Georgia Department of Education resulted in the Division of Vocational/Technical Education. Also during this time the Department of Developmental Studies was created. In 1974 the College held its first formal graduation where 42 degrees and certificates were conferred.
In September 1980, the Division of Vocational/Technical Education and the Department of Developmental Studies programs occupied a new $1.6 million facility.
In 1987, the Board of Regents changed the College’s name to Bainbridge College. In the same year, Bainbridge College became the second college in the United States to be designated a Bicentennial Campus by the Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution.
The College continued to grow and expand under Dr. Mobley’s tenure. In the fall quarter of 1992, enrollment increased to more than 1,000 students.
The name of the Division of Vocational/Technical Education was changed to the Division of Technical Studies in November 1990.
In 1997, Dr. Mobley announced his retirement. Dr. Clifford Brock was named as Bainbridge College’s second president in 1999.
More than $1.3 million was raised in 2000 for the proposed River Regional Center, which would eventually be renamed to the Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center with more than 23,000 square feet of spacing, including a conference center with an auditorium, a dining facility, high-tech lecture hall, and meeting rooms. Ground was broken in 2003 for the Kirbo Center, but it would not be opened until 2008.
Dr. Thomas Wilkerson, a 30-year University of Georgia System veteran, was appointed by the Board of Regents to be Bainbridge College’s third president in 2005.
The Early County Center in Blakely was transferred to Bainbridge College from Albany Technical College in July 2006.
Dr. Richard Carvajal was named Bainbridge State’s fourth president in 2010, and he would start his tenure in early 2011.
In early 2010, Bainbridge College opened its midtown facility, which houses the Cosmetology program and the Continuing Education Division. In 2012, Adult Education joined the facility that was shortly after named the Shotwell Education Center.
In 2011, the $20 million Student Wellness Center, dedicated to student life, was designed with student input and funded by student fees. At 78,000 square feet, the two-story building includes a 2,500-seat capacity gymnasium, exercise equipment in the 4,000-square-foot fitness center with plasma screen televisions, a 120-seat dining room and serving area, the campus bookstore, a 2,000-square-foot game room, men’s and women’s locker rooms with showers, a second floor walking track that encircles the basketball court, a computer lab, classrooms, and a quiet lounge area overlooking the campus.
The Division of Technical Studies was renamed School of Health Sciences and Professional Studies in 2012.
In 2013, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia granted Bainbridge College the status of a four-year college and officially changed its name to Bainbridge State College.