Without its students roaming campus, heading to class or lounging in the green spaces between buildings, College of Coastal Georgia's campus is like a tourist spot, said Greg Aloia, the college's president.
"It's pretty, but no one's there," he said.
But last week, the campus has undergone a transformation, as a record-breaking number of new and returning students began their classes Wednesday.
Tracy Pellett, vice president for academic affairs, said the campus is back to buzzing like a beehive.
"Nothing is better than having all these students back," Pellett said.
CCGA saw a significant increase in enrollment this year, with around 3,400 students signed up so far for the 2016-2017 academic year. Pellett said that is an 8.5 percent increase over the last academic year.
"It's one of the best growths we've seen since we've become a four-year institution," Pellett said.
The college also broke a personal record by welcoming the largest freshman class in the institution's history since becoming a four-year college seven years ago.
Aloia attributed this year's growth to a hardworking admission's office, increased advertising to high schools and improvements to student life on campus.
"We had a vey active admissions committee this year that met weekly, reviewing numbers, looking where kids were coming from and getting the message out to high schools and communities," Aloia said.
Pellett said efforts to increase enrollment included offering more degree options, promoting the college's talented faculty, bringing in new professors and improving the campus, most recently with the addition of a second residence hall, Mariner Village, which opened this month.
"We feel like the new residence hall is a big draw, because then we're increasing the number of students outside our region that typically wouldn't come to school here," Pellett said.
And he said the campus is well-structured to handle to the growth.
"We're upgrading additional classrooms to make it a 21st Century space in all the classrooms," Pellett said.
The school has also made an effort to improve student support services by hiring more advisers.
"The new advisers are a critical point for students, so they get a personalized experience," Pellett said.
He said the college is building its reputation as a quality institution.
"We see this as a great indication that what we're doing is on the right track," Pellett said.